AARP MedicareRx Preferred 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.
AARP MedicareRx Preferred is a cost-sharing prescription drug plan (PDP). There are three distinct costs: monthly premiums, an annual deductible, and co-payments or co-insurance. The annual premium on this PDP is $1102.80 ($91.90 per month), and breaks down as follows:
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
You are required to pay your premium each month, even if you don't fill a prescription. Plus, you'll pay all of your prescription costs until the annual deductible amount has been paid (if any). You'll also pay the required copayment at your pharmacy when you have your prescriptions filled. These are your costs and the plan pays the rest.
What You Pay Could Be Different
Most people pay the standard premium. However, if you qualify for Extra Help with your Medicare Part D plan due to your income, your premium may be lower or cost you nothing at all. But, if you did not enroll in a Part D plan as soon as you were first eligible, Medicare can impose a penalty and your premium will be higher. To get an exact rate for your situation, contact a California Medicare Insurance Agent.
AARP MedicareRx Preferred is a Enhanced PDP. At a minimum, UnitedHealthcare 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 AARP MedicareRx Preferred PDP, you share the cost of your prescriptions with UnitedHealthcare. 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)
The coverage gap, or donut hole, as it is often called, is the coverage phase where you no longer receive assistance from the plan. In other words, you pay for your prescriptions out-of-pocket. How quickly you reach the coverage gap with AARP MedicareRx Preferred all depends on your prescriptions. Most seniors never fall into the donut hole.
When you're in the donut hole you pay all of the costs for your medications, but at a discounted rate (75% off of both brand-name drugs and generics). You continue to pay this until your out-of-pocket costs reach $6,350. At this point, Medicare takes over by giving you catastrophic coverage. The $4,550 out-of-pocket figure does not include your monthly premiums or what UnitedHealthcare pays.
Additional Gap Coverage
AARP MedicareRx Preferred 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 AARP MedicareRx Preferred 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 UnitedHealthcare plan.
Here's the new member contact information for UnitedHealthcare:
For assistance 24 hours a day, call 800-633-4227. TTY users should call 877-486-2048. If you qualify for Medicare but have not yet enrolled or verified your enrollment status, you can do so on the Social Security Administration website. You can learn more about the Medicare Part D program on www.medicare.gov. For information about the SSA's Extra Help program, download the Understanding Extra Help guide.
This stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan is compatible with traditional Medicare (Part A and Part B), and all California Medicare supplement plans. It is also compatible with Medicare Advantage plans in California, so long as the 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 AARP MedicareRx Preferred 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.