Time To Find Your Best Medicare Prescription Drug Plan For 2023

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 10, 2022

The vast majority of adults  — 80% — age 65 and older take at least two prescription medications. More than half of American seniors take four or more medications, and over 1 in 10  (12%) take 10 different medications each week.

The time when Medicare permits seniors to annually reevaluate their Medicare drug plan is here. It is almost assured that your 2023 plan provisions and costs will be different. Conducting a simple evaluation can yield significant savings. This is especially true if you started taking a new prescription medication this year.

According to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, the typical senior switching drug plans will save between $500 and $700 in 2023 costs. Using free online Medicare drug plan comparison tools can make the process of finding your best plan simple even for the technically challenged.

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 15

Once a year, Medicare permits millions of seniors to compare and switch plan coverage. Open Enrollment begins Oct. 15, and all changes must be made by Dec. 7 with your new coverage beginning in January 2023.

When it comes to Medicare drug coverage, seniors today typically either choose coverage included as part of their Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or opt for a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D).

Comparing 2023 plans is especially vital for the 23 million people who have stand-alone coverage.

Start By Understanding 2023 Changes That Can Cost You

Medicare prescription drug plans typically have some costs, and these can and do change each year. Your current plan will have mailed you information regarding the plan and cost changes for the coming year. Ignoring the information now may mean facing a year of charges before you are able to switch. If you haven’t received a copy, call your plan now to request one.

Some changes you will see are standard, such as the annual plan deductible that for most stand-alone plans increases to $505 in 2023. That said, some plans offer a $0 deductible that could be worth considering.

Generally, the more important cost differences are copayments. These can range from a $1 to $2 per prescription to as much as 50% of the drug’s cost. For those taking costly medications, factoring in the prescription drug gap is vital. Finally, while the latest new federal legislation will positively impact drug costs for seniors, these changes are not taking effect in 2023.

Compare Medicare Plans

You May Have 20 Or More Medicare Drug Plans Available

Few seniors are aware of the array of plans available to them for 2023. An analysis of plans for Southern California found 26 different stand-alone plans. Most providers offered up to three choices featuring different premium costs associated with other plan provisions.

The analysis notes that one of the larger providers has three plan options with monthly premiums ranging from a low of $4.50 to as much as $69.10. Deductibles will range from $0 to as much as $505. The lowest-priced option includes copays ranging from $2 to $20 per prescription. The highest-cost option has copays that range from $0 to $47. For those taking multiple prescriptions and nongeneric medications, copays can add up rapidly.

Tips To Compare In 10 Minutes Or Less

Deductibles and copays definitely matter in terms of your 2023 drug costs. But what often matters most is specific drug costs in 2023. Plans place drugs into specific tiers that determine costs, and these can change each year. Plans can also change requirements regarding where you can get your prescriptions filled. This information will generally be spelled out in the Annual Notice of Change.

Calling your particular drug plan provider will help you get the information needed to compare the options they offer. Finding and contacting all of the various plan providers for your area can be a daunting task. Accessing an online portal that compares plans from multiple providers can be your best bet. 

The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance now makes available a free online 2023 Medicare drug plan comparison tool. Seniors can use the tool without having to enter any personal contact information.  A special feature allows you to enter specific information regarding your medications. This will enable you to compare options relevant to your personal situation more accurately.

There are also programs that provide assistance to seniors with limited income and assets to help them pay for prescription drugs. Seniors are eligible if their total assets, excluding their primary residence, vehicle and other personal items, are valued at less than $15,510 for individuals or $30,950 for married couples. The 2022 income limit is $20,385 for a single applicant and $27,465 for a married couple. Information can be found on the Social Security Administration’s website.

About Jesse Slome

Medicare Expert – Director Long Term Care Insurance Association, Medicare Supplement Insurance & Critical Illness Insurance Association