Blue Shield Rx Enhanced is a 3.5 Star Medicare Part D Plan for Medicare Beneficiaries in California
CMS gave this prescription drug plan a quality rating of 3.5 out of 5.0 stars (Average).
These are the areas of the plan that are important to compare and review:
- Premium & Deductible: The premium is the amount you will pay monthly. Plus, many plans have an annual deductible that must be met before cost sharing begins.
- Coverage Phases: Part D plans have an initial coverage limit, followed by a coverage gap, and then catastropic coverage. Some plans offer some coverage in the gap.
- Co-pays & Co-insurance: If you have regular prescriptions, it's critical to verify that your drugs are covered and to know what you will pay at the pharmacy.
- CMS Ratings: Important measurements across 4 different areas that will help you understand how well this plan will care for you.
Blue Shield Rx Enhanced does not pay all costs; it's a cost-sharing plan. If you join, you share in the overall costs with Blue Shield of California by paying a monthly premium, an annual deductible (if applicable), and copayments and/or coinsurance at your pharmacy.
This plan is not available to people receiving full Low Income Subsidy (LIS) benefits.
This plan has a $0.00 deductible (annual).
A zero dollar ($0.00) deductible means you have first dollar coverage. Many Part D Plans have a deductible (up to $435 per year in 2020) that must be paid before your prescription coverage assistance kicks in.
You Pay the Premium + Deductible + Copayments
Be aware that you must continue to pay your monthly premium even when you are not using any medications. Also, it's important to plan ahead because you are responsible for one hundred percent of your prescription costs until the plan's deductible has been met. You also make the required copayment when you pick up your prescriptions. These are your share of the prescription drug costs. The plan pays the rest until you reach the coverage gap (aka, “donut hole”).
What You Pay Could Be Different
There are two situations that can change your monthly premium. If your income is low and you are accepted into the Extra Help program administered by Social Security, your premium could be lower. It's also possible that your premium could be higher due to a late entry penalty. Be sure to speak with an authorized California Medicare Insurance Agent to get an exact quote for your situation.
Blue Shield Rx Enhanced is a Enhanced PDP. At a minimum, Blue Shield of California must offer a "standard benefit" package mandated by law. The standard benefit includes an annual deductible and a gap in coverage, aka, donut hole. Carriers may also offer plans that:
- are actuarially equivalent to the standard benefit; or
- are enhanced, offering benefits in addition to the standard benefit.
Typically, enhanced plans offer additional coverage during the coverage gap. If you fell into the donut hole last year, shop enhanced plans.
Initial Coverage Limit
Confused about the initial coverage limit? Don't be, because it's straight forward. If you enroll in the Blue Shield Rx Enhanced PDP, you share the cost of your prescriptions with Blue Shield of California. You each pay your share until the amount spent at the pharmacy reaches $4020.00 (retail spending amount). That's the initial coverage limit in California for plan year 2020. After that, you are not covered (coverage gap) until your actual out-of-pocket costs qualify you for catastrophic coverage. Keep reading, because you are entitled to automatic discounts.
Coverage Gap (aka, Donut Hole)
When you reach the coverage gap, commonly called the donut hole, you pay for your medications yourself. Most seniors never go into the coverage gap, but it is possible to hit it quickly if you have expensive long-term prescriptions.
If you reach the ICL (most people don't), then you are responsible for 100% of your prescription costs until your out-of-pocket costs hit $6,350 (excluding your monthly premiums and the amount paid by the plan). This is called the coverage gap or donut hole. The good news is that you get a 75% discount on your brand-name prescription drugs and your generic medications while you're in the gap. You get to the other side of the donut hole when you've spent $6,350, at which point you automatically qualify to receive catastrophic coverage from Medicare.
Additional Gap Coverage
Blue Shield Rx Enhanced does not offer additional assistance in the coverage gap. If you reached the coverage gap last year and were not able to afford your medications, be sure to check with your local California Medicaid office. You may qualify for additional assistance. The Social Security Administration's Extra Help program is another opportunity for seniors on Medicare who are not able to afford their prescriptions.
Copayment & Coinsurance Details
In addition to the monthly premium and annual deductible, the Blue Shield Rx Enhanced prescription drug plan has copayments (fixed dollar amount) and/or coinsurances (percentage) that you must pay when you pickup your medications. Here's the schedule for this plan:
IMPORTANT: In order to determine if this is the best PDP for you, it's critical that you look up your prescriptions in the plan's formulary.
Medicare Part D Star Ratings
In this section we show you the quality rating for this plan. Each year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates prescription drug plans in four broad categories. We do not recommend joining a plan with an overall rating less than 3.0. The following marks will give you an idea of the level of care you will receive if you join this Blue Shield of California plan.
Contact Blue Shield of California
Here's the new member contact information for Blue Shield of California:
For assistance 24 hours a day, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048 or visit www.medicare.gov
Blue Shield Rx Enhanced can be used in conjunction with Original Medicare (Parts A and B), and all Medicare supplement plans in California. It can also be used with California Medicare Advantage plans, but only if the Part C plan does not include Part D.
If you are entitled to Medicare Part A (enrolled or not) or currently enrolled in Medicare Part B you may join the Blue Shield Rx Enhanced prescription drug plan. Unless you also receive benefits from Medicaid, enrollment in a Part D plan is voluntary. This plan is available in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim, San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, San Diego, Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Sacramento, Roseville, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Fresno, Bakersfield, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Sonoma, Napa, Stockton, Irvine, and all other towns and cities in California.