Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Marla Ahlgrimm on Medicare Part D

Marla Ahlgrimm
Seniors age 65 and older typically rely on Medicare for their health needs. However, while Medicare is a valuable asset, it’s not a comprehensive solution, and there are gaps. One area Medicare lacks significantly is in drug coverage. Part A and B, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, don’t provide any financial assistance with prescription medications. Most seniors choose to purchase a separate Medicare Part D plan or enroll in Medicare Advantage, which often includes prescription coverage.

Q: What is Medicare part D?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage and is separate from hospital and doctor insurance. Those enrolled Original Medicare may purchase a prescription plan at an added cost. For 2019, Medicare Part D premiums tend to average around $30 per month.

Q: Does Part D cover all prescriptions?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Not necessarily, and seniors are often responsible for a copayment even when drugs are covered. The vast majority of seniors wishing for prescription drug coverage choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, which is also a form of private insurance.

Q: How does Medicare Part D differ from a Medicare Advantage plan?

Marla Ahlgrimm: You can think of Medicare Part D as a supplement to your Original Medicare. You pay an additional premium to have drug coverage included. A Medicare Advantage plan, which is often called Medicare Part C, is different in that it combines the benefits of Medicare Parts A, B, and D in one. Medicare Advantage is very similar to traditional health coverage.

Q: Which is the best choice for seniors that take multiple prescriptions?

Marla Ahlgrimm: That really depends on the market where they live, the medications they need, or budget. Because Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private companies, they are not the same from one state to the next. Seniors should talk to their pharmacist about their needs and their options when it comes to paying for their medicine.