Most seniors want and need prescription drug coverage. Thankfully, there are many Medicare drug plans available today, but it’s important to know that most come with a cost above your Part B payment. The monthly premium amount charged for Medicare prescription drug benefits varies by plan and the individual or couple’s income. Seniors with the following types of coverage should know:
The monthly premium may be included for seniors enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or Medicare Cost Plan with drug coverage.
Medigap policies and Medicare drug plans may both be available prescription drug benefit options to add onto Original Medicare. If you choose to sign up for both a Medigap policy and a Medicare drug plan from the same insurance agency, then you could end up paying two monthly premiums.
Schedule an appointment with your local Medicare agent to talk about your prescription drug plan options and the costs for each plan. Medicare agents are equipped to help you find the right plan for your needs and budget.
Is Medicare Part D automatically deducted from Social Security?
Medicare Part D premiums can be deducted from your Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) if you would like them to be. Simply, contact your plan to set up an automatic premium deduction (not Social Security or RRB). If you change your mind, you can also contact your plan to ask them to stop premium deductions and be billed directly instead.
How much does Medicare Part D cost?
Most seniors pay a monthly premium but some must also pay a Part D late enrollment penalty. The monthly premium varies by plan and income level, with high earners paying more. If you earn over certain income thresholds, an additional cost is tacked onto the premium of your Part D Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage. The additional fee is sometimes called “Part D-IRMAA”. The fee is paid directly to Medicare and most people have the amount directly withdrawn from their Social Security or RRB.
You will be notified by Social Security if you have to pay Part D IRMAA. If you receive this notification, you are required to pay the fee by law or lose your Part D coverage. This is true even if your employer or a third party pays for your Part D plan premiums.
Keep in mind that the amount you have to pay can change each year, depending on your income and adjustments made to Part D IRMAA. You can also contact Social Security if your income drops and you want to have your Part D IRMAA adjusted.
See this medicare.gov chart for income levels and Part D IRMAA payments.
What is the Extra Help program?
In order to expand access to prescription drugs for low income and low-resource seniors, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services offers a low-income subsidy for prescription medications through a program called Extra Help or the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS). Read our blog post about the Extra Help Program to learn more.
Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. Because we represent all the major Medicare Advantage and supplement plans in Hawaii, we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.
At PBC, our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.