Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Changes for 2013
October 16, 2012
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that 2013 will bring changes aimed at continuing to improve the quality of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans while helping seniors afford their prescription medications.
The Affordable Care Act Changes to Part D Prescription Drug Plans in 2013
The Affordable Care Act includes provisions that, over time, are reducing the cost of prescription drugs for people who fall into the coverage gap, or “donut hole.” In 2011 and 2012, the discount for brand name drugs was 50%; in 2013 and 2014, it will increase to 52.5%, and will grow after that until it reaches 75% in 2020.
The discount for generic drugs is increasing too; in 2013, it will be 21% so that you will pay 79% of the cost of your generic prescription medications. The generic drug discounts will also continue to increase, until they reach 75% in 2020, with the remaining 25% to be paid by you.
Other changes to Part D plans in 2013 include:
- The standard Part D plan initial deductible will increase to $325 (up from $320 in 2012). Your deductible may differ.
- Premium costs in 2013 are expected to remain at 2012 levels, around $30.00 per month on average. If you see a large increase in your Part D premium, you can make changes during the Open Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment Period to switch to 5-star rated Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans
CMS developed its quality rating system for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans a few years ago, basing it on well-established measures of health care delivery quality such as access to care, responsiveness, and beneficiary satisfaction. Plans can earn from 1 to 5 stars.
Although 5 star plans were few in 2012, forecasters are predicting they will be more widely available in 2013 as more insurance companies achieve the service levels necessary to earn the rating.
If you want to switch to a 5-star rated plan in your area, you can do so at almost any time during the year. The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D 5-star plan Special Enrollment Period this year runs from December 8, 2012 through November 30, 2013.
Special Enrollment Period to leave a consistently low rated Part D or Medicare Advantage plan
If either your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan has failed to achieve at least a 3 star rating from CMS over the last three years, you should expect to receive a letter from CMS offering you a Special Enrollment Period to leave your plan and choose a new one.
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