Medicare.gov - Tutorial - Plan Cost Estimation without Entering Drug Information
Back at the screen where you chose to enter your drug information (Plan Finder Step 2 of 4), you also had two opportunities to go directly to the Medicare plans and skip the drug entry process.
You could have chosen either: "I don’t want to add drugs now" or "I don’t take any drugs".
Both options in Plan Finder Step 2 of 4 skip the drug entry page and bring you directly to this Step 4 of 4. However, the two similar options lead to different results with the "I don’t want to add drugs now" option adding in an estimated value of your medication costs even though no drugs were added.
Option 1: "I don’t want to add drugs now".
If you chose not to enter any prescription drugs in the Plan Finder Step 2 of 4 ("I don’t want to add drugs now") , the Plan Finder still estimates your prescription drug cost for someone in "Good" health would be a certain value per year (and this estimated value changes each year). (Please note that the Medicare.gov Plan Finder default health value is always "Good", but you can change this value if you feel your health can better be described as Poor or Excellent. ) In July of 2013, the estimated annual drug cost was $3,636 for a person with "Good" health.
Your default or chosen health status can be changed on the previous screen of Step 4 of 4 and does not need to remain Good. When we changed the Health Status on the previous screen (left hand side, bottom of the options) to "Poor", our new estimated annual retail drug cost without having chosen any prescription drug coverage increased to $7,296. If we go back and change the Health Status to "Excellent", our annual retail drug cost estimate would then change to $1,656.
Since there is no better Health Status choice than "Excellent", people who take no prescriptions can either just ignore the annual Medicare drug cost estimate at this point or go back to Step 2 of 4 and click on "I don’t take any drugs" to get a better idea of having a Medicare Part D plan, not using any prescription medications, and only paying the monthly Medicare plan premiums.
Remember, with this option of "I don’t want to add drugs now", the Medicare.gov cost figure is simply an estimation of your costs. Your actual annual Medicare prescription drug costs can deviate significantly from this estimate.
If you chose "I don’t take any drugs" back in Step 2 of 4 "Enter Your Drugs", you will see the only annual cost for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plans is simply the cost of the monthly premiums and no estimated drug cost is added.
Therefore, if you just want the lowest costing Medicare prescription drug plan so you can avoid any late—enrollment premium penalty or just to have some form of prescription drug insurance, you can use this Option 2 to quickly see the lowest annual costing plan available in your area by choosing "I don’t take any drugs" back in Plan Finder Step 2 of 4.
Remember that if your health status changes before you enroll in a Medicare plan, you can always go back to Step 2 of 4 and enter any medications that you need covered.
The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
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