Medicare Drug Costs
2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates
Medicare Drug Costs
Given the exorbitant Medicare drug costs today, it is no wonder that many people are looking to slash their medication spending in order to limit their co-payment share in Medicare Part D. In fact, the same can be said of Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) that likewise has a limitation as to how much you can spend before the need to spend out-of-pocket kicks in.
The spending limit that can be shouldered by Medicare Part D or PDP companies is known as the coverage gap or donut hole. According to government statistics, more than 3.4 million people surpassed their coverage limits in 2008 activating their coverage gap clause. Imagine how painful it must be for all those policy owners to shoulder 100% of their Medicare drug costs simply because they exceeded their plan coverage.
In the succeeding paragraphs, we will talk about measures that one can rely on to lower Medicare drug costs with the end goal of avoiding, if not minimizing spending in the coverage gap. Further, it is important to understand that regardless of your chosen policy, you are bound to come across co-payment requirements unless you make a conscious effort to cut your Medicare drug costs. Of course, this does not mean sacrificing your prescription medication in favor of monetary concerns so there is a large room for flexibility and applicability that should be properly considered.
1. Perhaps the single most important suggestion on how to lower your Medicare drug costs is to check if there is a possibility to switch to generic drugs. Suppose you are on long-term maintenance medication for high blood pressure and your capsules cost $8 per piece. In 30 days, that amounts to $240. If you can find an equivalent generic drug for $2 per piece, that’s a $180 savings per month that puts you farther from the coverage gap.
2. Check if there are Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs that can help cover your Part D spending. There are basically two types of these PAPs: the first one is administered and managed by private companies certified by Medicare and the second by state institutions. Find out which ones are available in your area and what the eligibility criteria is to help you lower your Medicare drug costs.
3. Explore avenues for Extra Help. This only applies to Medicare members that have limited income. Still, if you feel that you meet the requirements for Extra Help, you should not hesitate to apply and avail of the offered services.
Recent legislative changes to the federal healthcare plan aims to eliminate the coverage gap but this does not kick-in until 2020. Between now and then, it is important to continue limiting your Medicare drug costs without compromising your medication. Unfortunate as it may be, these are the times that require more emphasis on frugality and indeed there are available measures to achieve this with regard to your Medicare drug costs.
So don’t worry, just be intelligent in your decisions and in your spending. Of the items that you can control with regard to Medicare drug costs, be proactive and aggressive in finding alternatives to lower cost so you can continue getting the benefits you deserve without having to spend beyond your means or budget.