On Saturday October 28th, MedicareWire.com will publish the complete catalog of 2014 Medicare Part D Plans. We’ve reviewed the landscape data files published by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide this brief analysis.
Based on the latest CMS Part D data, the average monthly Medicare prescription drug plan premium remains virtually the same at $53.35, versus $53.26 in 2013. That said, close to 73% of all Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in a Part D plan will see a $6 monthly premium increase if they keep their existing plan instead of enrolling in a new plan.
The big news for 2014 is that there are more Part D plans with premiums under $25 than ever before. In 2013 the lowest cost plan was offered by United Healthcare (marketed by AARP) at just $15 per month. In 2014 the low cost leader is Humana, with a plan priced at just $12.60 per month.
The bad news is that there will be fewer stand alone Part D plans to choose from in 2014. In 2013 there were an average of 31 stand alone plans per state versus 29 in 2014.
Also down are the number of plans with gap coverage (e.g., coverage in the donut hole). Additionally, the premium for plans offering gap coverage is increasing in 2014. Fortunately, seniors that do reach the coverage gap in 2014 will save some money on their prescriptions due to the changes provided by the new healthcare law. When you reach the coverage gap in 2014 you get a 52.5% on brand-name medications and a 28% discount on generics.
There are only nine national plans in 2014 versus eleven in 2014. Two organizations that were national in 2013 are no longer offered nationally in 2014 as they were purchased by other organizations: Coventry Health Care Inc., purchased by Aetna Inc., and Walgreens, purchased by Express Scripts Holding Company.
If you qualify for the full Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) or the Social Security Extra Help program, you will have one or more prescription drug plans available to you that qualify for the $0 monthly LIS premium. UnitedHealth is the only organization offering a national LIS plan in 2014.
MedicareWire.com reminds everyone with Medicare benefits that they can enroll in a 2014 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during the Annual Election Period starting Tuesday, 15 October, 2013. Due to the many changes in plan rate structures, seniors need to be more diligent than ever when it comes to comparing plans.