Mrs. Allen has a rare condition for which two different brand name drugs are the only available treatment. She is concerned that since no generic prescription drug is available and these drugs are very high cost, she will not be able to find a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that covers either one of them. What should you tell her?
Medicare prescription drug plans are required to cover drugs in each therapeutic category. She should be able to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan that covers the medications she needs.
Mr. Zachow has a condition for which three drugs are available. He has tried two but had an allergic reaction to them. Only the third drug works for him and it is not on his Part D plan’s formulary. What could you tell him to do?
Mr. Zachow has a right to request a formulary exception to obtain coverage for his Part D drug. He or his physician could obtain the standardized request form on the plan’s website, fill it out, and submit it to his plan.
Mrs. Roswell is a new Medicare beneficiary who has just retired from retail work. She is interested in selecting a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. She takes a number of medications and is concerned that she has not been able to identify a plan that covers all of her medications. She does not want to make an abrupt change to new drugs that would be covered and asks what she should do. What should you tell her?
Every Part D drug plan is required to cover a single one-month fill of her existing medications sometime during a 90-day transition period.
Mr. Bickford did not quite qualify for the extra help low-income subsidy under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug program and he is wondering if there is any other option he has for obtaining help with his considerable drug costs. What should you tell him?
He could check with the manufacturers of his medications to see if they offer an assistance program to help people with limited means to obtain the medications they need. Alternatively, he could check to see whether his state has a pharmacy assistance program to help him with his expenses.
What types of tools can Medicare Part D prescription drug plans use that affect the way their enrollees can access medications?
Part D plans do not have to cover all medications. As a result, their formularies, or lists of covered drugs, will vary from plan to plan. In addition, they can use cost containment techniques such as tiered co-payments and prior authorization.
Mrs. Fields wants to know whether applying for the Part D low-income subsidy will be worth the time to fill out the paperwork. What could you tell her?
The Part D low-income subsidy could substantially lower her overall costs. She can apply by contacting her state Medicaid office or calling the Social Security Administration.
Mr. Wingate is a newly enrolled Medicare Part D beneficiary and one of your clients. In addition to drugs on his plan’s formulary he takes several other medications. These include a prescription drug not on his plan’s formulary, over-the-counter medications for colds and allergies, vitamins, and drugs from an Internet-based Canadian pharmacy to promote hair growth and reduce joint swelling. His neighbor recently told him about a concept called TrOOP and he asks you if any of his other medications could count toward TrOOP should he ever reach the Part D catastrophic limit. What should you say?
None of the costs of Mr. Wingate’s other medications would currently count toward TrOOP but he may wish to ask his plan for an exception to cover the prescription not on its formulary.
Mrs. Roberts has Original Medicare and would like to enroll in a Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan. All types of PFFS plans are available in her area. Which options could Mrs. Roberts consider before selecting a PFFS plan?
A Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) PFFS plan that combines medical benefits and Part D prescription drug coverage, a PFFS plan offering only medical benefits, or a PFFS plan in combination with a stand-alone prescription drug plan.
Mrs. Fiore is a retired federal worker with coverage under a Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plan that includes creditable drug coverage. She is ready to turn 65 and become Medicare eligible for the first time. What issues might she consider about whether to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan?
She could compare the coverage to see if the Medicare Part D plan offers better benefits and coverage than the FEHB plan for the specific medications she needs and whether any additional benefits are worth the Part D premium costs on top of her FEHB contribution.
One of your clients, Lauren Nichols, has heard about a Medicare concept from one of her neighbors called TrOOP. She asks you to explain it. What do you say?
TrOOP stands for true out-of-pocket expenses that count toward the Medicare Part D catastrophic limit and include not only expenses paid by a beneficiary but also in some instances drug manufacturer discounts.
Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn both take a specialized multivitamin prescription each day. Mr. Vaughn takes a prescription for helping to regrow his hair. They are anxious to have their Medicare prescription drug plan cover these drug needs. What should you tell them?
Medicare prescription drug plans are not permitted to cover the prescription medications the Vaughns are interested in under Part D coverage, however, plans may cover them as supplemental benefits and the Vaughn’s could look into that possibility.
Mr. Hutchinson has drug coverage through his former employer’s retiree plan. He is concerned about the Part D premium penalty if he does not enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan, but does not want to purchase extra coverage that he will not need. What should you tell him?
If the drug coverage he has is not expected to pay, on average, at least as much as Medicare’s standard Part D coverage expects to pay, then he will need to enroll in Medicare Part D during his initial eligibility period to avoid the late enrollment penalty.
Mr. Rice is 68, actively working and has coverage for medical services and medications through his employer’s group health plan. He is entitled to premium free Part A and thinking of enrolling in Part B and switching to an MA-PD because he is paying a very large part of his group coverage premium and it does not provide coverage for a number of his medications. Which of the following is NOT a consideration when making the change?
Mr. Rice’s retiree plan is required to take him back if, within 63 days of having voluntarily quit the employer’s plan, he decides that he prefers it to his Medicare Part D plan
Mrs. Mulcahy, age 65, is concerned that she may not qualify for enrollment in a Medicare prescription drug plan because, although she is entitled to Part A, she is not enrolled under Medicare Part B. What should you tell her?
Everyone who is entitled to Part A or enrolled under Part B is eligible to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan. As long as Mrs. Mulcahy is entitled to Part A, she does not need to enroll under Part B before enrolling in a prescription drug plan.