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Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans – What You Should Know

If you’re considering Medicare Advantage (MA), you’re not alone. In 2018, over 17 million seniors chose Part C coverage, also known as Medicare Advantage (MA). With benefits above and beyond Original Medicare, the right MA plan offers security and peace of mind that when you need health care, you can get it—no questions asked. But what about prescription drug plans? Are you covered under Part C? Here’s a brief overview of how prescription drug benefits work with Medicare Advantage and information on MA Plans that include prescription drugs, called (MAPD). 

The Type of Drug Coverage You Can Get Depends on the Type of MA Plan You Have

There are many different types of Medicare Advantage plans, some with prescription drug benefits included, and some without. Medicare Advantage HMOs and PPOs are not required to offer prescription drug benefits. If you choose an HMO or PPO MA plan that does not offer coverage, you may not join a separate Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

Compare Prescription Drug Benefits Carefully

The good news is, most Medicare Advantage plans do include benefits for prescription drugs, known as MAPD, but no two plans are alike. It makes sense to find the one that fits your prescription needs best. If you take specific medications, compare plans by looking at the drugs that are included on the formulary (list of covered medications), and be sure to identify which tier or tiers they are assigned to, how much they cost, and where you can get them.

Your MA Prescription Drug Benefits May Change Yearly

You already know that different Medicare Advantage plans provide different prescription drug benefits. But did you know that each plan’s benefits might change yearly too? If you have Medicare Advantage with prescription drug coverage, your plan is required to send you an Annual Notice of Change each year. This document (which should come by mail at the end of September) informs you about any changes that will take place the following January to your plan in network pharmacies, drug formulary, and cost for medications you take. 




Different types of MA plans:


How Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Works with a Medicare Advantage Plan:

https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11135.pdf page 2, 3



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