Q1Medicare.com Highlights Changes in 2011 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

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Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are changing again in 2011 and Q1Medicare.com released their online PDP-Compare tool to help seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries quickly see how their current 2010 Medicare Part D plan is changing. With PDP-Compare, Medicare beneficiaries can compare changes in prescription drug plan costs and features such as monthly premiums, donut hole coverage, co-payments, and initial deductibles. Advocates can also use PDP-Compare to quickly see whether a Medicare beneficiary’s 2010 Medicare Part D plan still qualifies for the 2011 state-specific Low Income Subsidy $0 premium.

Medicare Part D prescription drug plan costs and coverage usually change every year and 2011 will be no exception. In 2011, seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries can expect changes in monthly premiums, initial deductibles, prescription drug co-payments, and even changes in the specific prescription medications covered on their plan’s formulary.

Understanding the annual changes in Part D plans is important for seniors because if a 2010 Medicare Part D plan member does not choose to enroll into a new 2011 Part D prescription drug plan (or PDP), the beneficiary will be, in most cases, automatically re-enrolled into the same Medicare Part D plan for the next year – along with any 2011 plan changes.

Additionally, with a number of popular 2010 Medicare prescription drug plans being discontinued in 2011 (such as the 2010 AARP MedicareRx Saver plan and the Coventry AdvantraRx plans); many Medicare beneficiaries can even expect automatic re-assignment to a new 2011Medicare Part D plan.

To help the Medicare community visualize 2011 Medicare Part D plan changes, the Q1Medicare.com website now has the newest version of their PDP-Compare tool online and updated to include changes in drug co-payments, donut hole coverage and initial deductibles. PDP-Compare users can also review Medicare Part D plans that are new for 2011 or see 2010 prescription drug plans that are discontinued in 2011. PDP-Compare shows the annual changes in every stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan across the United States and is available free to all Q1Medicare.com users.

For example, users of PDP-Compare can see how the 2010 Humana Value plan is changing to the 2011 Humana WalMart-Preferred Rx Plan with a lower monthly premium and a higher initial deductible. The 2011 Humana WalMart plan also includes a new cost-sharing structure with a new formulary Tier 4 that has a 35% co-insurance rate.

“Although Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about 2011 Medicare Part D drug plan changes through their Annual Notice of Change letters, we developed PDP-Compare as a simple tool that helps people see how their Medicare prescription drug coverage and plan costs are changing”, notes Dr. Susan Johnson, technical director of the Q1Medicare.com site. “We also designed the PDP-Compare tool for Medicare advocates and support groups so they can quickly see the changes in Medicare Part D plans qualifying for a state’s $0 premium Low-Income Subsidy.”

The 2011 PDP-Compare tool can be found directly at PDP-Compare.com and Q1Medicare.com users need only to select their state for a complete list of 2011 Medicare Part D plan changes. More advanced users can choose a specific Medicare Part D plan provider from the drop-down list and see a comparison of how a company’s 2011 Medicare Part D plan selection changed. Users can also search plans by specific Medicare Part D plan features, such as Type of Gap Coverage, by selecting from drop-down boxes within the PDP-Compare search form. The Q1Medicare PDP-Compare tool will be updated with additional features as more 2011 plan specific prescription drug information becomes available.

About the Website Q1Medicare.com
Q1Medicare.com is one of the largest independent online resources for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan information. Q1Medicare strives to provide users with a simplified view of the Medicare program. Q1Medicare.com is operated by Q1Group LLC (Saint Augustine, Florida).

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Lynnea Christner

Susan Johnson MS-MIS, MBA, PhD
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