Before you talk to any insurance agent, prescription drug plan call center or sign up for a Part D Prescription (PDP) drug plan from a direct mail advertisement go to Medicare.gov and do a plan comparison. The Medicare prescription drug insurance plans are the most complicated and confusing of all the Medicare decisions a beneficiary must make. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has built one of the best online comparison tools for evaluating PDPs.
Medicare Advantage plans have been encouraged by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to include $0 copay prescription costs for medications that work to reduce heart attacks and strokes in the plans for 2014. Some plans will be including $0 copay drugs that fight high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The Affordable Care Act set in motion a series of reforms to slowly close the coverage gap or “donut hole” that Part D members faced after they met their initial coverage dollar amount. Pharmaceutical manufacturers that wanted their Brand name drugs covered in the gap had to sign an agreement with Medicare to cover 50% of the cost of the drug. Medicare has had to assess civil monetary penalties on many companies that failed to cover the discount.