There are 2 ways to get prescription drug coverage through Medicare, either by a stand alone Drug plan or through a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage.  To get Part D you must have and/or be eligible for Part A and B.  Prescription drug plans cover drug purchased through a retail pharmacy or mail order pharmacy.


Like Part B, there is a penalty for not taking Part D when first eligible.  That penalty is 1% per month you go w/o a drug plan until you enroll in one for the average cost of a drug plan (Approx. $35.00 monthly).  Example not enrolled for 12 months


All Part D drug plans have to follow rules set by Medicare.  RX Plans have to carry 2 drugs minimum in each family of their formulary* for a particular condition.  All Part D plan are subject to various "Enrollment Periods"  For a list click here.  Every drug plan works on a tiered system of pricing there are 5 tiers to every drug plan.


Drug Plan Tiers:


  1. Tier 1 is Preferred Generic
  2. Tier 2 Non-Preferred Generic
  3.  Tier 3 Preferred Name Brand
  4.  Tier 4 Non-Preferred Name Brand
  5.  Tier 5 Specialty Drugs (Medicare defines any drug for which the negotiated price is $670 per month or more, as a specialty drug which is placed in a specialty tier that requires a higher patient cost sharing.)


Every Drug Plan has 4 "Stages" works on a calendar year.


  1. Deductible (if applicable) once you pay the deductible you go to the Initial Coverage Stage
  2. Initial Coverage Stage, after you paid the deductible then you pay a straight co-pay/co-insurance for your drugs up to a retail cost limit of $3820.00 for 2019.
  3. Coverage Gap (donut hole) once you've exhausted the $3820.00 retail cost limit in the Initial Coverage Stage you go into the Coverage Gap (donut hole) and will pay 25% of the costs for name brand drugs and 37% of the costs for generics until you hit another retail cost limit of $5,100.00 after reaching $510.00 you move into the Catastrophic Coverage for the remainder of that calendar year.
  4. Catastrophic Coverage In this stage you pay $3.40 for generics and $8.50 for name brand drugs or 5%.


*It is very important that you do and annual review of your prescription drug plan as the plan can change drugs in and out of a formulary and once December 7th passes you are locked into the plan you are on until next open enrollment (October 7th thru December 7th)


Schedule you annual review.

medicare part d prescription coverage

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