PDP-Compare offers what we call a One-Click Comparison of Medicare Part D Plans.
By simply selecting your state and clicking on the "Click to Compare Annual Plan Changes"
button, you can compare:
- Plan Quality Ratings,
- Type of Coverage during the Doughnut Hole,
- $0 Qualification for Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) Recipients
- Cost Sharing - Copayments, Co-insurance, and
- Popularity (Past Enrollment Figures)
PDP-Compare Search Criteria
Most states offer 30 or more Medicare Part D plans. Sometimes it helps to reduce the number of plans that you want to compare. This section explains the search and sort options in PDP-Compare.
The Search Criteria are divided into three areas:
- Those applying to the plan independent of the plan year
- Criteria to be used against the 2014 plans
- Criteria to be used against the 2015 plans
Criteria that are used independent of the plan year include:
- State - this is a required field. You must select a state.
- Plan Family - If you are only interested in certain plans, ex: AARP, then just select the family of plans from the drop-down list.
- Other Options - click the checkbox to show only those plans that will be discontinued in 2015.
- Sort Results by - Premiums, Plan name, Plan rating, Popularity (Enrollment)
Criteria that apply to a particular plan year must be entered in the appropriate column for the year (2014 or 2015) the search criteria include:
- Maximum Premium - Which plans under $25 in 2014 are still under $25 in 2015? - enter 25 in the 2014 column and 25 in the 2015 column
(Answer: in California, only one of the plans that was under $25 in 2014 is still under $25 in 2015. Remove the $25 from the 2014 column to see that an additional nine plans will be under $25 in CA for 2015.
- Maximum Deductible - is used just as maximum premium is above.
- Type of Gap Coverage - is used just as maximum premium is above, except you select an option in the appropriate column 2014 or 2015 fields.
- Full Low-Income Subsidy? - Choose one of the three options: Yes, show only plans that qualify, No, I receive no or only partial extra help,
or Only show Plans that DO NOT qualify for $0 Premium. This option is used if you would like to see only plans which changed their qualification status.
Example: select Yes... in the 2014 column and Only show Plans that DO NOT qualify ... in the 2015 column. You will see that in California, three plans
no longer qualify for the LIS $0 Premium status. Switch the 2014 and 2015 criteria to see that one new plan qualifies in 2015 that did not qualify in 2014.
Example 1: Changes in Current Plan
In this example our New York beneficiary wants to see what changes they can expect in their current plan. We have selected New York as our state
. Note that State is the only field that must be entered prior to a search. Since the beneficiary is only interested in Humana Plans, we can narrow down the comparison by selecting Humana
in the Plan Family
field. We have left the Full Low-Income Subsidy
(LIS) field set to No...
so that we will see plans which qualify and also those that do not qualify. Then click on "Click to Compare Annual Plan Changes"
The comparison of the three Humana plans is shown for both 2014 and 2015. Our beneficiary can quickly see that the 2014 Humana Walmart Rx and Preferred plans will remain fairly consistent for 2015 except for the increase in plan premiums. The Humana Enhanced will see changes in copayments for Tiers 1 through 3 and Tier 4 cost-sharing will change from a $92.00 copayment to 44% co-insurance.
Example 2: 2014 Plan no longer offered in 2015
This California beneficiary wants to know which plans will no longer be offered in 2015. They enter California in the State
(a required field) and click the checkbox next to Only Show Plans that will be Discontinued in 2015
They can leave the rest of the search fields empty and then click on Click to Compare Annual Plan Changes
Our beneficiary can quickly see details of the seven (7) plans that will no longer be offered in California for 2015.
They can also see that members of the AARP MedicareRx Enhanced, Cigna-HealthSpring Rx, First Health Part D Premier Plus and Essentails plans,
SilverScript Choice, and SmartD Rx Plus plans will be automatically re-assigned to other plans unless they choose a new plan for themselves
(details can be found in the Annual Notice of Change sent directly to members by the carrier).
Our California beneficiary can change the additional information field to "Members in this State" to see how many people in California
are currently enrolled in plans that will be discontinued in 2015.
Example 3: Change in Plan Coverage from 2013 to 2014
In this example our North Carolina beneficiary wants to see what changes they can expect in their current plan. We have selected North Carolina as our state
. Note that state is the only field that must be entered prior to a search. Since the beneficiary is only interested in SilverScript plans, we can narrow down the comparison by selecting SilverScript
in the Plan Family
field. We have left all other criteria fields empty. Then click on "Click to Compare Annual Plan Changes"
The comparison of the two SilverScript plans is shown for both 2014 and 2015. Our beneficiary can see that if the stay with their 2014 SilverScript Basic plan for 2015, their plan will now be called SilverScript Choice plan and they will have a $0 deductible. Their premium will be about $5 lower and their cost-sharing will be higher.
Example 4: Advanced Search - Comparing Plans from Different Companies.
Our Arizona beneficiary wants to find a medium priced Medicare Part D plan and wishes to compare plans across different companies. Since there are 38 rows in the Arizona comparison, this list could be a bit cumbersome. Our beneficiary does not want to spend more than $35 per month and does not want to pay a deductible.
This type of search is done by first selecting the State
Arizona, and then entering our value 35 in the Maximum Premium
field in the 2015 column
and 0 in the Maximum Deductible
field in the 2015 column.
Since we want a medium priced plan and have entered our max, lets let the low priced plan fall to the bottom of the list by selecting 2015 Premium Highest to Lowest
in the Sort Results by
field. Then click on "Click to Compare Annual Plan Changes"
Our comparison is reduced to only two plans rather than 38.
We can quickly compare the CMS Quality Rating, Premiums, Copays and Coinsurance, and even Plan Popularity across these plans. We can even see the individual plan changes from 2014 to 2015.
Example 5: Advanced Search - Premium increases in California
In this example our California beneficiary wants to see the changes in the most inexpensive Medicare Part D plans. We enter California in the State
field, 35 in the 2014 Maximum Premium
field, 310 in the 2014 Maximum Deductible
field (or leave it blank since $310 is the 2014 maximum deductible. We entered 40 in the 2015 Maximum Premium
field, 320 in the 2015 Maximum Deductible
field (or leave it blank since $320 is the 2015 maximum deductible. We changed the Sort Results by
field to 2015 Premium Highest to Lowest.
Our comparison shows 11 plans that meet our search criteria. Only two plans lowered their premiums, one will be discontinued, and the remaining eight will raise their premiums. Three of the plans no longer qualify for the LIS $0 premium. One plan continues to be sanctioned by CMS and cannot accept new enrollments. The co-payments/co-insurance for all plans can quickly be compared to determine which plan best matches the prescription purchase patterns for the beneficiary.