Thousands of Washington state seniors depend on prescription drugs to go about their daily lives. Fortunately, Medicare prescription drug plans offer cost-sharing solutions that make healthcare affordable. 

Prescription drug costs are not cheap, and health insurance is necessary to mitigate the costs. This is true even when you have Medicare coverage. Original Medicare consists of Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). Parts A and B cover some medications, but you need Part D to cover most prescription drugs. To be fully covered, you need a prescription drug plan (PDP) plan from an insurance company

Another option is to choose Medicare Part C, which is Medicare Advantage. These insurance plans provide an all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare

Want to save money on Medicare? Use the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to find the best prices on Medicare plans without the need to call an insurance agent first. Start with your ZIP code to compare plans and save big. Try it today!

 

 

What Are the Best Medicare Part D Plans in Washington?

Washington state residents have several plan options when it comes to Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.The key to choosing the best plan is to start with your needs first. Make a list of any medications you take regularly. Use that list to cross-reference how any prospective plan prices the cost of your medications. Ideally, you want a plan that offers low copays for your specific prescriptions. 

Of these top eight plans, three have a four-star rating. One has a $0 deductible, and there is one with a $100 deductible. Although none of them are premium-free, all but two are less than $35 a month. 

#1: WellCare Classic S4802-020 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $30.50
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $1
    • Tier 3: $25
    • Tier 4: 33 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

It’s no surprise that this plan from WellCare has a four-star rating. It offers one of the most affordable PDPs, with excellent pricing on prescriptions. Tier 1 and Tier 2 medications are $0 and $1, respectively. This plan may be an excellent choice for those who need prescription drugs regularly.

#2: WellCare Value Script S4802-135 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $18.70
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $4
    • Tier 3: $43
    • Tier 4: 47 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

This plan from WellCare offers a low monthly premium but higher medication costs. Compared to the previous plan, Tier 3 and Tier 4 are considerably higher. For those who need a PDP plan to avoid a penalty for not joining one, this is a great low-cost option. And, when you do need a prescription, you’re already covered. 

#3: WellCare Wellness Rx S4802-199 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $17.20
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $5
    • Tier 3: $40
    • Tier 4: 46 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

Very similar to the previous plans, this one has a low premium and reasonable pricing on prescription drugs. This is another inexpensive plan for those who want to join a plan but do not need coverage yet. 

#4: AARP MedicareRx Preferred S5820-029 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $92
    • Deductible: $0
    • Tier 1: $5
    • Tier 2: $10
    • Tier 3: $45
    • Tier 4: 40 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 33 percent coinsurance

Although this plan has the highest monthly premium on this list, there’s no deductible. Once you join, you enjoy the lower co-payments and coinsurance pricing, rather than full price, on your medications. With this plan, when you reach the gap phase, you only pay a $10 co-pay for Tier 2 drugs, while all other tiers cost the usual 25 percent coinsurance

#5: AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus S5921-374 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $32.20
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $1
    • Tier 2: $6
    • Tier 3: $32
    • Tier 4: 40 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

This three-and-a-half-star plan from AARP offers reasonably priced prescription drugs for just $32.20 a month. Tier 3 medications through this plan are cheaper than five of the other top-rated plans, while the prices for different tiers are comparable to other plans. 

#6: AARP MedicareRx Walgreens S5921-411 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $34
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $6
    • Tier 3: $40
    • Tier 4: 40 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

Here’s another solid, affordable prescription drug plan that offers free Tier 1 medications as well as competitive pricing on the other tiers. With this plan, once you exceed the initial coverage limit of $4,130, some Tier 2 drugs are eligible for a $6 co-pay in the gap phase. All other medications have the standard 25 percent coinsurance until they max out and enter the catastrophic coverage phase.  

#7: Cigna Secure-Essential Rx S5617-309 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $24
    • Deductible: $445
    • Tier 1: $0
    • Tier 2: $2
    • Tier 3: 18 percent coinsurance 
    • Tier 4: 50 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 25 percent coinsurance

This Cigna plan offers the third-lowest premium on the list. Tier 1 and 2 pricing is excellent, but the 50 percent coinsurance for Tier 4 medications may be a deal-breaker for those who need prescription drugs in that category. 

#8: Cigna Secure-Extra Rx S5617-275 (PDP)

    • Monthly Premium: $40.30
    • Deductible: $100
    • Tier 1: $4
    • Tier 2: $10
    • Tier 3: $42
    • Tier 4: 50 percent coinsurance
    • Tier 5: 31 percent coinsurance

With a low deductible and an affordable premium, this plan lets you start paying lower prices for your medications sooner. Like two others on this list, this plan also has slightly different gap phase coverage. When you reach gap coverage, you will continue to pay $4 for Tier 1 drugs and $10 for Tier 2 drugs. For all others, you pay the usual 25 percent coinsurance

Did you know that you can use the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to find the right Medicare prescription plan for you? Enter your ZIP code to see plans in your area. Try it now!

Affordable Medicare Part D Plans Just A Click Away

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How Much Does Medicare Part D Cost in Washington?

The average cost of enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan in Washington is $33 per month. The plan you choose could cost more or less. Generally, plans with a low deductible or none at all will have a higher monthly premium than plans with the standard $455 deductible

Besides the monthly Part D premium and the Medicare Part B premium, your overall costs for prescription drugs depend on the annual deductible, the cost of the medications you’re taking, and the coverage phase you’re in. The Extra Help program provides financial assistance for individuals who meet eligibility requirements. 

What Is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D plans are for Original Medicare beneficiaries to cover prescription drug costs. They are plans run by private insurance companies, like Humana and Cigna. Your plan covers a portion of the medication costs not covered by Medicare Parts A and B. 

The best time to sign up for a Medicare Part D plan is when you first gain eligibility. This is during the three months before, the month of, and three months after your 65th birthday. You can sign up at your local Social Security office, online at Medicare.gov, or by calling the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at 1 (800) 633-4227. TTY users can contact 1 (877) 486-2048.

Medicare Advantage users who want to switch to Original Medicare can do so and choose a Part D plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which is from January 1 to March 31 every year.

 What Types of Medicare Part D Plans Are Available in Washington?

Medicare Part D plans are very similar in their structure. There are three phases based on your prescription drug spending throughout the year. 

    • Initial coverage phase: This is a tiered cost structure that outlines what you pay after your deductible is met and until you exceed $4,130 in spending.
    • Gap coverage phase: With most plans, you pay a 25 percent coinsurance after spending $4,131 but before spending $6,350.
    • Catastrophic coverage phase: After you exceed $6,350 in annual spending, you will pay the higher of:
      • $3.70 or 5 percent for generic drugs
      • $9.20 or 5 percent for brand-name drugs 

 

 

FAQ: Washington Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

Do I need a prescription drug plan if I’m not on long-term medications?

No, you do not need to choose a prescription drug plan. But you should know that when you do decide to join one—whether in one year or five—there will be a late-enrollment penalty. This is not a one-time fee but a monthly one that you pay forever.  

Can I add a prescription drug plan to my Medicare Advantage plan?

The short answer is only if you have a private fee-for-service plan or medical savings account. These MA plans do not include prescription drug coverage, so you can add a PDP plan. 

HMO and PPO Medicare Advantage plans have prescription drug coverage, so if you have one of these types of plans, you cannot add a PDP. Your Medicare Advantage plan will switch back to Original Medicare if you join a PDP. 

When can I switch to a new prescription drug plan?

Medicare beneficiaries can join or switch to a new PDP during the annual Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7. If you’re switching from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare, you can do that between January 1 and February 14, and you need to select a PDP by February 14. 

Conclusion: Save Money on Your Prescription Drug Plan by Comparison Shopping 

As you look through prescription drug coverage plans, be sure to consider whether the plan is right for you. It may be appealing to look only at the ones with no deductible or the ones that have the lowest monthly premiums, but not every plan will work for every person. Here are some questions to ask to find one that fits your healthcare needs:

    • Is it available in my service area?
    • Does it cover my medications in the formulary (drug list)?
    • Which tiers are my prescriptions in?
    • Are your preferred pharmacies on the list?
    • Can I afford the monthly premiums and deductible?

And don’t forget to compare plans and save money with the Insurify Medicare comparison tool. Discover the options in your area at no cost to you. Try it now!

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Updated April 11, 2021

Charlotte Edwards is a freelance writer with a passion for educating others in the areas of personal finance, health, and education. An educator-turned-writer, she has written for publications worldwide over the past decade. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching classic movies, and spending time with her husband and two children. You can learn more about her work and life abroad at www.livinginchinawithkids.com.