With the introduction of Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, many senior adults find great confusion in working through the available benefit programs. While local pharmacies strive to understand the programs, and offer assistance to clients, the families of the senior adult would serve well to understand the programs offered in an effort to assist the elder family member in making the most educated decision, just like the time when we tackle the topic on choosing the best vitamin c serum for face.
First, the Medicare prescription drug programs are offered on one of two premises; either as a supplement through the original Medicare plan or through the additonal of coverage through Medicare replacement or Medi-Gap plans. Let’s first address the basic criteria of the Medicare supplement plan attached to the original Medicare coverage.
The basic Medicare prescription coverage, provided by private health carriers, is provided without changing the basic Medicare coverage plan. For senior adults who are insured only by the federal Medicare program, under Part A or Part B, the Medicare prescription program can be purchased, separately, through a private insurance carrier as a supplement to the federal Medicare programs. Under these programs, an insurance premium is paid to the private insurance carrier and, in return, the Medicare receipient is given a prescription card which may entitle the Medicare beneficiary to a variety of prescription options including percentage discounts, co-insurance options and deductibles. The key to these plans is the requirement that the Medicare receipient pay the premium to the private insurance carrier, in addition to maintaining any premium payments to the federal Medicare program.
As an alternative to the Medicare prescription program, many senior adults are turning to Medicare replacement policies and Medi-Gap policies. Even before Medicare prescription programs were mandated, many senior adults considered these options as financial advantages over the bankrupting Medicare plans through the federal government. For a monthly premium, these Medicare replacement plans offer a sort of HMO or PPO type of coverage and, in most cases, allow for greater coverage than that of the Medicare federal programs. With the additional of mandated prescription programs, these Medicare replacement and Medi-Gap programs now offer an added element and, in most cases, mail order prescriptions at a co-pay rate as little as $10.00 per prescription.
The key to determining which Medicare prescription program is best for your senior family member, and permitted under your state law, visit the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov. On the Medicare website, senior adults and their family members can browse through plans by state and also answer a series of questions enabling the Medicare system to narrow a selection of insurance plans most compatible with the health needs of your loved one.