Q1Group analysis finds higher premiums and fewer stand-alone Medicare Part D plan choices for 2015

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Q1Group provides an analysis of the newly released 2015 stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan landscape data on their Q1Medicare.com site. National and state level summaries show increases in 2015 Medicare Part D plan premiums and decreases in the availability of stand-alone Medicare Part D plans.

Changes in the Average Number of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans from 2007 to 2015

Changes in the Average Number of Medicare PDPs

Q1Group now offers seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries a preview of their 2015 stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) options. Based on the 2015 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Part D plan landscape data, Q1Group has released their national and state-by-state interactive 2015 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan summaries on their Q1Medicare.com site.

The 2015 stand-alone Medicare Part D plan analysis can be found directly at PDP-Facts.com/2015 and includes a 2015 textual summary of the data for each state.

“As in the past years, we designed our 2015 PDP-Facts to be interactive so that users can click on the facts and figures to view more plan information directly within our 2015 PDP-Finder and PDP-Compare tools,” notes Dr. Susan Johnson, Technical Director and co-founder of Q1Group.

According to the 2015 CMS Medicare Part D plan data, the national average stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan premium is decreasing slightly to $53.14, just under the 2014 national average premium of $53.80.

However, based on current 2014 Medicare Part D plan enrollment, about 70% of all Medicare Part D beneficiaries will see a monthly premium increase of over $6 - if these beneficiaries stay with their current 2014 stand-alone prescription drug plan for 2015 instead of enrolling in another, more affordable 2015 Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription coverage.

Although fewer 2015 stand-alone Medicare Part D plans will be offered with premiums under $25 a month, the Humana Walmart Rx plan will be offered again in 2015 with premiums ranging from $15.60 to $15.70. However, the lowest-costing 2015 Medicare Part D plan is the SilverScript Choice plan offered in New Mexico with a premium of $12.60.

Overall, Medicare beneficiaries may notice slightly fewer stand-alone 2015 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans offered in their area, with an average of 29 Medicare Part D plans being offered in each state - as compared to an average of 34 stand-alone plans being offered in 2014. A complete listing of all the 2015 Medicare Part D plans offered in each state can be found at PDP-Finder.com/2015.

Residents of Pennsylvania and West Virginia will have the largest decrease of stand-alone prescription drug plans with 29 Medicare Part D plans available in 2015 as compared to the 39 Medicare Part D plans offered in 2014.

As in past years, a number of 2015 Medicare Part D plans will offer some Donut Hole or Gap coverage. But, even without enrolling in a Medicare plan with Donut Hole coverage, seniors will receive a 55% discount on brand-name drugs and a 35% discount on generic drugs if they enter the Coverage Gap portion of their 2015 Medicare Part D plan.

Low-income Medicare beneficiaries will find many states offering fewer 2015 prescription drug plans qualifying for the $0 monthly LIS or Extra Help premium with only nine states seeing the same or increased number of $0 LIS qualifying plans into 2015. In most cases, low-income beneficiaries who find that their current Medicare plan no longer qualifies for the 2015 $0 premium will be automatically reassigned to a 2015 Medicare Part D plan that will qualify for the $0 LIS premium.

Like other Q1Medicare.com tools, the PDP-Facts, PDP-Finder, and PDP-Compare tools are available to all site visitors at no cost and designed for PC, smartphone, and tablet platforms.

Q1Medicare.com reminds seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries that they can enroll in a 2015 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period starting on October 15 and continuing through December 7.

About the Q1Medicare.com Website
Q1Medicare.com is one of the largest independent online resources for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan information. Q1Medicare.com offers a large selection of Frequently Asked Questions, online tools, a Medicare Part D Blog, and a free Medicare Part D Newsletter all designed to help Medicare beneficiaries, healthcare professionals, advocates, advisers, caregivers, and insurance agents better understand both the Medicare Part D prescription drug and Medicare Advantage programs. Q1Medicare.com is operated by Q1Group LLC (Saint Augustine, Florida).

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Susan Johnson MS-MIS, MBA, PhD
Q1Group LLC
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