How To Avoid the Medicare PDP Penalty in 2018?
You may not realize this, but if you don’t sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan when you are first eligible, you can expect to pay a penalty when you do sign up. The Part D drug penalty is for late enrollment, and it is a permanent penalty that is calculated at 1% of the national standard premium for every month that you could have enrolled and didn’t.
If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible to, you will not be able to enroll again until the Annual enrollment period. The Annual Enrollment Period or AEP is from October 15th until December 7th. You become eligible to enroll into Part D when you first become eligible for Medicare. You want to make sure you don’t make the mistake of not enrolling into Medicare Part D because you aren’t taking any medications or because you are healthy. Making this mistake could cost you down the road.
How Do Tiers And Copays Work In Medicare Part D In 2018?
If you’re not familiar with tiers and copays you will be soon. Medicare Part D insurance is offered through private insurance companies. These companies offer different plans that use tiers to differentiate what you pay for your Medicare prescription drugs. Typically, you will see four to five tiers in a Medicare PDP with the lowest tier being for generic drugs, and the highest tier representing specialty drugs. Here’s how the tiers normally look.
Tier 1 is for preferred generic drugs, and Tier 2 is for non-preferred generic drugs. Tier 3 is for preferred brand drugs, and Tier 4 is for non-preferred brand drugs. Finally, Tier 5 is for the really expensive specialty drugs. The copays are spelled out by the plan and increase as the Tiers increase. Ideally, you would have all of your drugs in Tier 1 of whatever Medicare PDP you choose.
Is Extra Help Available In 2018 For Paying For Medicare Prescription Drug Plans?
Yes, there is a national program that is designed to help you pay for your prescription drugs under Medicare. The program is called LIS which stands for Low Income Subsidy. As the name would indicate, you do have to qualify based on your income and assets. The program is managed by Social Security, and is also called Extra Help with Prescription Drugs. You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by going into your local Social Security office.
The program provides a tremendous amount of help by reducing and many times eliminating the premium you have to pay for your Medicare Part D drug plan. In addition, the program also reduces the amount that you pay for your drugs substantially. Another feature of the LIS program is that it eliminates the Coverage Gap for you. This can save a lot of money if you are routinely going into the Coverage Gap.