Arizona Medicare Part D Plans
By Scott Kerby
Medicare Part D Plans Arizona
Arizona residents who are conscious about the cost of their Medicare premiums should consider getting prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) as soon as they’re eligible for Medicare. Every month you delay getting coverage could contribute to a larger late enrollment penalty when you finally do join. This penalty is charged monthly for the rest of the time you’re on Medicare Part D, even if you change plans. There are some exceptions, but you need to make sure one of those exceptions applies to you before your first open enrollment date.
Here are 2 ways Arizona residents can get Medicare prescription drug coverage:
1. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs)
Arizona Medicare Part D plans add drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans. You must have Medicare Part A or Part B to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
2. Medicare Advantage Plans (HMO or PPO plans provided by private companies)
These plans provide all of your Plan A, Plan B and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans that offer all three are sometimes called MA-PDs for Medicare Advantage with Part D. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan. Not all of these plans offer drug coverage, so be sure to verify that with your plan provider.
When Can Arizona Residents Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan?
- When you first become eligible for Medicare, you can join during your Initial Enrollment period. You can either join through original Medicare or through a plan, such as a Medicare Advantage Plan, offered by a private company.
- If you get Part B for the first time during the General Enrollment Period, you can also join a Medicare drug plan.
- During the annual Open Enrollment period from October 15 – December 7 of each year. Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year.
Most Medicare Part D plans in Arizona charge a monthly fee that varies by plan. You pay this in addition to the Part B premium. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Cost Plan that includes Medicare Part D, the monthly premium may include an amount for prescription drug coverage.
Some Medicare prescription drug plans in Arizona have a yearly deductible. You will have to pay that amount before your drug plan begins to pay its share of your covered drugs.
Copayments or Coinsurance
Depending on your plan, you may have to pay a portion of your drug costs at the time you pick up your prescription. This may apply even after you have paid the deductible if your plan has one.
You’ve probably heard about the Medicare Donut Hole. This is a period where you have to pay a larger share of the cost for your covered drugs.
You enter the coverage gap when the combined annual drug expense for you and your plan reaches a certain dollar value. In 2016 this was $3,310. That’s a fairly high amount and most people never reach it. If you did, you’d pay roughly 50% of the cost for your prescription drugs until your total out-of-pocket expenses reached $4,850.
Once you reach the out-of-pocket maximum for the year, you would only have to make copayments for each covered drug until the end of the year.
Fortunately, there are many things that contribute to your out-of-pocket maximum so be sure to check with your plan provider if you happen to encounter the “donut hole”.
Medicare Advantage Plans are a great way to manage your Plan A, Plan B and Plan D coverage. Enter your ZIP code below to find the right plan for you.