2014 Medicare Part D Costs: Deductibles and Premiums to Remain Stable

2014 Medicare Part D Costs: Deductibles and Premiums to Remain StableMedicare Part D costs are reported to remain relatively stable in 2014, as there will only be a slight increase in monthly premiums and a decrease in deductible costs.

In a recent report, government officials announced that Medicare Part D beneficiaries will see the cost of their prescription drug coverage remain relatively stable in the coming year. This should come as good news to many, as the majority of beneficiaries choose to enroll in Part D coverage. Medicare Part D coverage is offered to all individuals enrolled in the Medicare program. Beneficiaries can choose to enroll in Part D coverage either through a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan, both of which are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare.

How are Medicare Part D premiums changing in 2014?

A Medicare Part D premium is the monthly cost that beneficiaries must pay to be enrolled in and receive coverage from their Part D plan. Beneficiaries typically have to pay for this monthly premium out of their own pocket. The only exception is if they qualify for certain assistance programs, such as the Extra Help program, which helps beneficiaries enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

Medicare Part D premiums in 2014 are estimated to average about $31, which is a dollar increase from the $30 averaged for the past three years. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released this data on the day of the 48th anniversary of the signing of Medicare into law.

How are Medicare Part D deductibles changing in 2014?

A Medicare Part D deductible is the amount that beneficiaries must pay each year before the insurance company begins to pay its share of eligible claims and covered medications. Not all plans that offer Part D coverage come with an annual deductible. While deductibles vary by plan, Part D plans are not allowed to charge a yearly deductible of more than $325 in 2013, and this limit changes each year.

In 2014, Medicare Part D deductibles are estimated to decrease from $325 to $310.

How do these 2014 Medicare Part D cost projections affect you?

According to government officials, seniors and individuals with disabilities may continue to save money on their out-of-pocket drug costs in the coming year given the small changes to 2014 Part D costs. They attribute over $7 billion in prescription drug savings to the Affordable Care Act and the closing of the Medicare donut hole, which averages $1,061 per beneficiary for the 6.6 million individuals affected.

“Seniors are benefiting from improved benefits and low premiums, thanks to a competitive and transparent marketplace for Medicare drug plans,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

However, these projections are based off of bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic drug coverage for the coming year. 2014 Part D plan data will not be officially released until October; hence, this estimation may or may not change in the next few months. Additionally, the calculations are an average, and are not representative of your plan in particular or the Part D plans available in your county and state.

Remember, the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is in exactly two months, lasting from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can enroll in, drop, or change your Medicare Part D and/or Medicare Advantage coverage. By AEP, the costs for all 2014 Part D plans should be finalized. With plan benefits and costs changing each year, consider reviewing your Part D coverage options during this time to make sure you are still enrolled in the best plan for your needs.

Medicare hasn’t approved or endorsed this information.

About Angela Chen

Angela Chen is a contributor and editor of the eHealth Medicare Blog and the PlanPrescriber Blog.
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