Alabama Medicare Part D Plans: The Best Plans in 2021

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While Original Medicare can be a great foundation for healthcare coverage, prescription drug coverage is still a crucial part of the puzzle.

Unfortunately, Original Medicare on its own does not cover prescription medication. For Medicare beneficiaries who require medication as part of a well-rounded healthcare strategy, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans can fill that need and ensure you have your needed medication. You could go with “bundled” Medicare Advantage plans, but stand-alone prescription drug plans also provide great coverage options.

Already have all the information you need to get your search started? Try Insurify’s plan-comparison tool! It’s free and easy to use, and it will give you all the details you need to make an informed health insurance decision. 

 

 

What Are the Best Alabama Medicare Part D Plans?

There are a solid number of plans available in Alabama, but before you make a decision, it’s extremely important to evaluate your own medical needs and financial situation. In addition, you should always take a look at a plan’s service area and formulary. The service area is the counties in which a plan is available, and the plan formulary lists the specific medications covered in the plan. So be sure to check those to make sure the plan can work for you.

As a disclaimer, this is not an endorsement of specific plans or providers but is rather a list of some of the highest-rated plan options in Alabama.

#1 WellCare Classic S4802-071 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $27.20
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $2
    • Tier 3: $30
    • Tier 4: 33 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

With a premium of $27.20, this plan will cost at least $326.40 annually. As you’ll see with the rest of this list, the deductible of $445 is the standard across many plans in Alabama. But once you’ve paid through the deductible, you’ll have access to a tier structure that is fairly affordable across most tiers. This plan’s star rating is 4 out of 5.

#2 WellCare Value Script S4802-147 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $17.80
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $6
    • Tier 3: $43
    • Tier 4: 47 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

This plan’s premium of $17.80 will cost an annual baseline of $213.60, which is slightly more affordable than the previous WellCare plan. As with the previous plan, the deductible will bring with it an extra $445 before the tiered coverage kicks in. While the first two tiers have very low co-pays, the remaining three tiers are a bit more expensive, especially the 47 percent coinsurance in Tier 4. This plan earns 4 stars out of 5.

#3 WellCare Wellness Rx S4802-181 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $15.70
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $5
    • Tier 3: $40
    • Tier 4: 46 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

With the lowest premium on this list, WellCare Wellness Rx will cost at least $188.40 each year. The rest of the plan costs are very similar to #2 on our list, with low co-pays in the first tiers and higher co-pay/coinsurance rates in the later tiers. This plan earns 4 stars out of 5.

#4 AARP MedicareRx Preferred S5820-011 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $86.50
    • Deductible: $0
    • Tier 1: $5
    • Tier 2: $10
    • Tier 3: $45
    • Tier 4: 40 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 30 percent coinsurance

Despite a fairly steep monthly premium of $86.50 ($1,038 per year), this plan has a deductible of $0, meaning that coverage will begin as soon as the plan activates. With that in mind, the plan’s tier structure mirrors some of the previous plans on this list, with low early-tier costs and higher costs in Tiers 3 to 5. This plan gets 3.5 stars out of 5.

#5 AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus S5921-357 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $28.60
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $1
    • Tier 2: $5
    • Tier 3: $36
    • Tier 4: 40 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

With a premium of $28.60, this plan will cost at least $343.20 per year, in addition to the standard deductible of $445. Like the previous AARP plan, the tier structure gets progressively more expensive as you go up each tier. This plan earns 3.5 stars out of 5.

#6 AARP MedicareRx Walgreens S5921-393 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $31.90
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $6
    • Tier 3: $40
    • Tier 4: 40 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

This plan has a monthly premium of $31.90, which would cost $382.80 over the course of a year. The deductible is the standard $445, and the tier structure’s co-pay/coinsurance rates aren’t particularly more expensive than others. This plan gets 3.5 stars out of 5.

#7 BlueRx Enhanced Plus S1030-001 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $139.40
    • Deductible: $0
    • Tier 1: $2
    • Tier 2: $10
    • Tier 3: $40
    • Tier 4: 45 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 33 percent coinsurance

With the most expensive premium on this list, this plan will cost at least $1,672.80 per year. But, much like #4 on this list, there is no deductible, so the plan coverage will start as soon as the plan is active. The tier structure has a bit higher costs when compared to many of the other plans here. This plan earns 3.5 stars out of 5.

#8 BlueRx Enhanced S1030-010 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $90.40
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $2
    • Tier 2: $8
    • Tier 3: $40
    • Tier 4: 45 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

With a monthly premium of $90.40, this plan will cost at least $1,084.80 per year. In spite of this steeper-than-usual premium, the plan still requires a deductible of $445. The tier structure is fairly inexpensive in the earlier tiers and more expensive in later tiers. At present, this plan gets 3.5 stars out of 5.

Don’t see the right plan for you in this list? Try Insurify’s plan-comparison tool! With side-by-side comparisons and detailed information, you’ll find the right plan for you in no time!

How Much Does Medicare Part D Cost in Alabama?

In Alabama, monthly premiums for Medicare Part D plans can range from $7.30 to $139.40, and the overall average for monthly premiums sits at roughly $32. This means you’re looking to pay an average annual baseline of $384.

There are also multiple prescription drug tiers that can directly impact the overall cost of your medications. Each tier can vary in terms of co-payment or coinsurance rates, and they are as follows:

    • Tier 1: Preferred generic drugs
    • Tier 2: Non-preferred generic drugs
    • Tier 3: Preferred brand-name drugs
    • Tier 4: Non-preferred brand-name drugs
    • Tier 5: Specialty drugs

In addition, Medicare Part D coverage has three phases that can impact the overall cost. During the initial coverage phase, you’ll pay for medications according to your plan’s tier structure. Once you’ve reached $4,130 in spending, you enter the plan’s coverage gap (also known as the “donut hole”), which means that you’ll likely be paying more than normal for medications, though it will typically cost no more than a 25 percent coinsurance. Once you’ve spent a total of $6,550 in out-of-pocket costs, you exit the coverage gap and enter what’s known as the catastrophic coverage phase, which ensures that you pay very small co-pay or coinsurance rates for the rest of the year.

What Is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D is a component of Medicare coverage that provides beneficiaries with prescription drug insurance and lower drug costs. Whether you’re enrolling in a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan or through Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C), both sources of Medicare Part D come from private insurance companies that have gained approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

If you are enrolled in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), you will likely need to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan to get coverage for any medication that you receive outside of inpatient or outpatient care centers.

All Medicare Part D insurance plans are required to cover a wide range of drugs that people with Medicare take, as well as drugs in protected classes. While many Medicare Part D plans cover the same range of medications, you should still check the plan’s formulary to see if it includes medication that you need.

Who Is Eligible for Medicare Part D, and How Do I Enroll?

Anyone eligible for Original Medicare can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. To qualify for Original Medicare enrollment, you must meet one of the following criteria: 

    • Be at least 65 years old and have 10 years of qualifying work
    • Suffer from a specific chronic illness, such as end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
    • Be eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits

To enroll in Medicare Part D, you must first enroll in Original Medicare. Your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before your 65th birth month and ends three months after. During this time, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, provided that you’ve received your Medicare number through Original Medicare enrollment. If you don’t enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period, you could face a late-enrollment penalty, which can significantly increase the overall cost of your health plan

If you are already enrolled in Medicare, you can also take advantage of the Open Enrollment Period, which takes place between October 15 and December 7 of each year. During this time, you can sign up for or switch between different plans.

For more details on eligibility and enrollment, visit www.medicare.gov, or call 1 (800) 633-4227. TTY users can contact 1 (877) 486-2048. You can also consult with an insurance agent of your choosing.

 

 

FAQ: Alabama Medicare Part D

Wouldn’t I save money by not enrolling in a prescription drug plan?

It’s true—you could potentially decide to not enroll in a Medicare Part D plan and save some money. However, if you do end up needing prescription drug coverage after declining to enroll, you will have to pay a penalty fee each month after gaining that coverage. That penalty will persist as long as you are still enrolled in the Medicare system.

If money is a real issue, you should consider signing up for a cost-sharing or subsidy program like Extra Help or enrolling in a plan that has a low monthly premium. This way, if you do end up needing medication, you have at least some coverage.

Can I have Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) with a Part D plan?

As long as your Medigap plan does not provide prescription drug coverage, you can have a simultaneous enrollment in both a Medicare Supplement plan and Medicare Part D. 

If you have a Medigap plan with prescription drug coverage and would like to switch to a Part D plan, contact your Medigap insurance provider and request that they remove your prescription drug coverage. It’s important to note that once you have waived the Medigap prescription drug coverage, you will not be able to get it back.

Are Medicare Part D plans available across Alabama?

Technically, yes. However, as mentioned earlier, you should always take a look at a plan’s service area, which determines which counties offer the plan. If you live outside of a plan’s service area, then the plan will simply not be available to you. 

Conclusion: Compare Plans to Save!

Medicare prescription drug plans are part of any well-rounded healthcare approach. While there are some highly rated plans out there, the best thing that you can do is take stock of your own medical needs and financial limitations. Keep an eye on plan formularies, services areas, and pharmacy networks so that you’re not blindsided by gaps in coverage. With all of that in mind, you’ll have everything you need to find the plan for you.

Looking to take charge of your insurance search? Take advantage of Insurify’s plan-comparison tool. Its easy-to-use format and wealth of plan information will put you on the right track to great healthcare coverage.

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Updated June 2, 2021

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Adrian Coto is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of the NYU Creative Writing MFA program, he's worked as a legal assistant, a law school administrator, and now as a copywriter and editor.