(STATEPOINT) If you have Medicare and are looking for ways to save on the ever-increasing cost of medications next year, consider adding a prescription plan known as “Part D.” By making medications more affordable, Part D plans can help you stay on track to achieve your 2020 health goals.
Choosing the plan that’s best for you can seem daunting at first, so familiarizing yourself with how Part D plans work is essential.
First, compare how much you can expect to pay as you go through the “four stages” of a plan’s coverage, as the cost of your prescriptions will increase or decrease depending on the phase you are in. Then, find experts who can help you make an informed decision about the plan that will work best for you, and take time to learn how the changes happening in 2020 will impact your bottom line.
You may need to pay more before your plan kicks in. A deductible is the amount you need to pay before your plan starts paying its share of the cost. Next year, the deductible could be as high as $435. That’s an increase of $20 from 2019.
Initial Coverage Stage
Your plan may cover more of the cost before you reach the “Donut Hole.” During this stage, you pay a set amount for your medications. Your plan covers the difference. In 2020, the initial coverage limit is up to $4,020. That’s an increase of $200 from 2019.
Coverage Gap Stage
You will receive higher discounts for branded and generic medications. You will receive a 75-percent discount when purchasing a brand-name medication. For example, if your medication costs $100, you will only pay $25. If you need a generic medication, you will never pay more than 25 percent of the total cost of the drug. In 2020, you will remain in this stage until your total out-of-pocket costs of your covered medications is $6,350.
You will only have to pay a minimum amount. Once you reach this stage, your costs will remain the same through the year. During this stage, you pay $8.95 for brand-name drugs and $3.60 for generics, or 5 percent of retail costs, whichever is higher.
If you are currently enrolled in a Part D plan, be sure to check the Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) mailed by your plan. The ANOC details how these and other 2020 changes may impact your wallet next year. You can also go to roadmapformedicare.com for more detailed information about these changes, where you’ll find a free easy-to-use tool that will help you compare plans and choose the one that works best for you.