Express Scripts Medicare - Value is a 2018 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for Medicare beneficiaries in Rhode Island.
There are five components of every plan that should be evaluated before making an enrollment decision:
- Premium & Deductible: The premium is the amount you pay to be in the plan. This is the monthly cost of membership. In addition, plans may have an annual deductible. This is an amount that you pay towards your prescription costs before cost sharing begins.
- Co-pays & Co-insurance: This is where many people pay more than they should. Prescription co-payments (what you pay at the pharmacy) vary widely based on the formulary tier your drug is in. It's critical to verify that your medications are covered at the lowest tier possible.
- Coverage Phases: All Medicare Part D plans have an initial coverage phase, followed by a coverage gap phase, followed by a catastrophic coverage phase. The phase you're in will largely depend on the cost of your prescriptions. Some plans offer additional coverage in the gap phase. If you have costly medications, look for a plan with additional gap coverage.
- Medication Cost: One of the most challenging aspects of the Medicare Part D program is finding your prescription at the best price. It has as much to do with the pharmacy you use as it does the plan itself. This is because plans have preferred pharmacies and pharmacies have different contracts with pharmaceutical manufactures. Here's a secret, use our friends at GoodRx.com to find your prescription at the best price in your town.
- 5-Star Ratings: Critical measurements, by Medicare, will help you see how well this plan will care for you.
Detailed Cost Information
The Express Scripts Medicare - Value plan does not cover all of your prescription costs. The costs are shared. Your costs includes the monthly premium, an annual deductible (if applicable), and co-payments and/or co-insurance when you pickup your prescriptions.
The annual premium is $400.80 ($33.40 paid monthly). It breaks down as follows:
The Express Scripts Medicare - Value plan qualifies for low income subsidies. The following table shows the subsidised premiums:
|Subsidy Level||Monthly Premium|
This plan has a $405.00 deductible (annual).
The Part D deductible is capped at $405 (2018 level). A plan with the maximum deductible is not always more expensive than a similar plan with a lower deductible. You must factor in all costs (premium, deductible, co-pay and pharmacy price).
Your Out-of-Pocket Costs: Premium + Deductible + Co-pay
Be aware that you must continue to pay your monthly premium even when you are not using any medications. Also, it's important to plan ahead because you are responsible for one hundred percent of your prescription costs until the plan's deductible has been met. You must also make the required co-payment when you pickup your prescriptions. These are your share of the prescription drug costs. The plan pays the rest until you reach the coverage gap (aka, “donut hole”).
Your Costs May Be Different
Two conditions may change the amount you pay for this plan. If you qualify for Social Security's Extra Help program your premium could be lower. Also, if did not enroll in a plan when first eligible CMS will impose a penalty on your monthly premium.
Details of Plan Coverage
Express Scripts Medicare - Value is a Actuarially Equivalent Standard plan. By law, Express Scripts Medicare is required to offer a standard benefit package. The standard benefit has an annual deductible, an initial coverage limit, a gap in coverage (donut hole), and a catastrophic coverage phase. Insurance carriers have the option to offer plans that:
- are an actuarial equivalent to the standard benefit; or
- provide enhanced benefits, as compared to the standard benefit.
Most enhanced plans provide additional coverage in the coverage gap phase. If your medications are costly, shop and compare enhanced plans.
Initial Coverage Limit Phase
The ICL is the same for all Rhode Island plans, but it changes from year-to-year. If you enroll in Express Scripts Medicare - Value you share the cost of all covered medications with Express Scripts Medicare. You each pay your share until $3750.00 has been spent at the pharmacy. If you reach that level of spending on your prescriptions then you fall into the dreaded coverage gap and you are responsible for all costs. Fortunately, automatic discounts kick in to help you until you qualify for Medicare's catastrophic coverage in Rhode Island.
Coverage Gap Phase
The coverage gap phase, or donut hole, as it is often called, is the phase where you no longer receive cost sharing from the plan. In other words, you pay for your prescriptions out-of-pocket. How quickly you reach the coverage gap with Express Scripts Medicare - Value all depends on your prescriptions. Most seniors never fall into the donut hole.
In the coverage gap phase you are responsible for the full cost of your prescription drugs up until your total out-of-pocket expenses reach $4,550 (excluding premiums and expense paid by insurance) minus a 47.5% discount on brand-name prescription drugs and a 28% discount on generic drugs. Once you reach $4,550 in out-of-pocket expenses, you're out of the coverage gap. At this point you automatically get catastrophic coverage through Medicare, which assures you only pay a small amount for covered drugs for the remainder of the year.
Enhanced Gap Coverage
Express Scripts Medicare - Value does not offer coverage gap assistance. If went into the coverage gap phase last year, and you were unable to afford your prescriptions, call your local Rhode Island Medicaid office about assistance. The Extra Help program, from the Social Security Administration, may also be available to help you afford your medications.
Catastrophic Coverage Phase
Once you've spent $4,950 out-of-pocket in 2018, you're out of the coverage gap phase. At this point, you automatically get "catastrophic coverage." This assures that you'll only pay a small co-insurance or co-payment for covered drugs for the remainder of the year.
Co-payment & Co-insurance Details
In addition to the monthly premium and annual deductible, the Express Scripts Medicare - Value prescription drug plan has co-payments (fixed dollar amount) and/or co-insurances (percentage) that you must pay when you pickup your medications. Here's the schedule for this plan:
|Tier||You Pay||Tier Description|
CRITICAL: To understand how much you will pay at the pharmacy if you join this plan, you must find the tier of each of your prescriptions in the plan's formulary.
TIP: Use the GoodRx Medicare tools to find your prescription at the best price in your town.
CMS 5-Star Ratings
The annual CMS plan ratings are important. Each year CMS rates PDPs across four categories. Ratings offer a good clue as to the quality of service you can expect if you join the plan.
|2018 Overall Rating|
|Drug Plan Customer Service|
|Complaints and Changes in the Drug Plan|
|Member Experience with the Drug Plan|
|Drug Safety and Accuracy of Drug Pricing|
Express Scripts Medicare Contact Information
Here's the new member contact information for Express Scripts Medicare:
For assistance 24 hours a day, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048 or visit www.medicare.gov
If you are entitled to Medicare Part A (enrolled or not) or currently enrolled in Medicare Part B you may join the Express Scripts Medicare - Value prescription drug plan. Unless you also receive benefits from Medicaid, enrollment in a Part D plan is voluntary. This plan is available in Cranston, Providence, Warwick, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Coventry, and all other towns and cities in Rhode Island.
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