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Words to Know



Coinsurance — An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for services after you pay any deductibles. Coinsurance is usually a percentage (for example, 20%).
Copayment — An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doctor’s visit or prescription. A copayment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage. For example, you might pay $10 or $20 for a doctor’s visit or prescription.
Coverage Determination — The first decision made by your Medicare drug plan (not the pharmacy) about your drug benefits, including the following:
  • Whether a particular drug is covered
  • Whether you have met all the requirements for getting a requested drug
  • How much you’re required to pay for a drug
  • Whether to make an exception to a plan rule when you request it
If the drug plan doesn’t give you a prompt decision, and you can show that the delay would affect your health, the plan’s failure to act is considered to be a coverage determination. If you disagree with the coverage determination, the next step is an appeal.
Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage — Prescription drug coverage (for example, from an employer or union) that is expected to pay, on average, at least as much as Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage. People who have this kind of coverage when they become eligible for Medicare can generally keep that coverage without paying a penalty, if they decide to enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage later.
Deductible — The amount you must pay for health care or prescriptions, before the Original Medicare Plan, your prescription drug plan, or your other insurance begins to pay.
Drug List — A list of drugs covered by a plan. This list is also called a formulary.
Exception — A type of Medicare prescription drug coverage determination. A formulary exception is a drug plan’s decision to cover a drug that’s not on its formulary or to waive a coverage rule. A tiering exception is a drug plan’s decision to charge a lower amount for a drug that is on its non-preferred drug tier. You must request an exception, and your doctor must send a supporting statement explaining the medical reason for the exception.
Extra Help — A program to help people with limited income and resources pay prescription drug costs. Also called the "low-income subsidy."
Institution — A facility that meets Medicare’s definition of a long-term care facility, such as a nursing facility or skilled nursing facility, not including assisted or adult living facilities or residential homes.
Medicaid — A joint Federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Medically Necessary — Services or supplies that are needed for the diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition and meet accepted standards of medical practice.
Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) — A type of Medicare Health Plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Also called "Part C," Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan, and aren’t paid for under the Original Medicare Plan. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Cost Plan — A type of Medicare health plan available in some areas. In a Medicare Cost Plan, if you get services outside of the plan’s network without a referral, your Medicare-covered services will be paid for under the Original Medicare Plan (your Cost Plan pays for emergency services, or urgently needed services).
Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) — A type of Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) available in some areas of the country. Many HMOs cover extra benefits, like extra days in the hospital. In most HMOs, you can only go to doctors, specialists, or hospitals on the plan’s list except in an emergency. Your costs may be lower than in the Original Medicare Plan.
Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan — A high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan that works with a special kind of bank account, called a Medicare Medical Savings Account or MSA. The high deductible plan deposits money from Medicare into the savings account. You can use the money to pay your medical expenses until your plan deductible is met. After the deductible is met, the high deductible plan covers your Medicare-covered services.
Medicare Preferred Provider Organization Plan (PPO) — A type of Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) available in some areas of the country in which you pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that belong to the plan’s network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network for an additional cost.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) — A stand-alone drug plan that adds prescription drug coverage to the Original Medicare Plan, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private-Fee-for-Service Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that must follow the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plan — A type of Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) in which you may go to any Medicare-approved doctor or hospital that accepts the plan’s payment. The insurance plan, rather than the Medicare Program, decides how much it will pay and what you pay for the services you get. You may pay more or less for Medicare-covered benefits than in the Original Medicare Plan.
Medigap Policy — Medicare Supplement Insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill "gaps" in Original Medicare Plan coverage.
Original Medicare Plan — The Original Medicare Plan is the fee-for-service plan under which the government pays your health care providers directly for your Part A and/or Part B benefits.
Penalty — An amount added to your monthly premium for Medicare Part B or a Medicare drug plan (Part D), if you don’t join when you’re first eligible. You pay this higher amount as long as you have Medicare. There are some exceptions.
Premium — The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company, or a health care plan for health or prescription drug coverage.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) — A state program that gets money from the Federal government to give free local health insurance counseling to people with Medicare.
State Pharmacy Assistance Program (SPAP) — A state program that provides help paying for drug coverage based on financial need, age, or medical condition.




(Primary Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Your Guide to Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage 2008. This content may have been enhanced by Q1Group LLC to include further examples, explanations, and links.)
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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.