Do I need Part D if I have a Prescription Drug Discount Card?

Learn when to use a prescription discount card and what it means for Part D.

by Ray Wilson+ on Jul 31, 2020

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Recent data shows that 46% of the population uses at least one prescription drug a month. With that figure in mind, it is only natural to wonder how best to save effectively. You may be asking yourself: “What is a drug discount card? When should I use it? Can I combine a drug discount card with Part D? As usual, Senior65 is here to answer your questions.

Let’s go ahead an clarify one key point: Medicare Part D is the best choice for seniors to pay for drugs and protect their wealth. A drug discount card, in addition to Part D, can save you money in some cases. We will explain why and how below.

How do Prescription Drug Discount Cards work?

A prescription discount card allows you to purchase your medications at a discounted rate. Most card providers offer an app to search for the best deal at pharmacies near you. Just show the app or your discount card to the pharmacists and they will immediately give you the discount. 

As opposed to Medicare Part D, it is not insurance and you cannot use it in combination with your insurance. It will not help you avoid Medicare Part D penalties, and most discount cards do not offer deals on very expensive drugs.

The best part of drug discount cards is that they are free. That’s right, you do not have to pay anything to use them. You just sign up and save.  It does not have a monthly fee (called a premium) and it does not have any deductibles to cover. The discounts can be very large. Some offer up to 80% off retail prices!

There are many prescription drug cards available. The most well-known cards are GoodRx and Single Care. Senior65 has just partnered up with a new card called CleverRx to offer what we believe is the best and easiest prescription drug card available. But before you jump on the discount card bandwagon, please read our serious warning below.

Discount Cards are not Insurance

Medicare Part D is prescription drug insurance but discount cards are not. Part D helps you lower your drug costs in exchange for a monthly premium of around $35.

Each Part D plan has a certain formulary that lists the drugs covered, so the perfect Part D plan actually depends on the drugs you take. Senior65 can help you research and enroll in Medicare Part D.

Medicare Part D insurance may not be cheaper than a discount card but it will usually do a better job of protecting your wealth and avoiding Medicare penalties. If you have many expensive prescription drugs, Part D can eventually pay 95% of your costs. This is why you purchase insurance! We recommend that all our clients enroll in Medicare Part D but also have a Medicare Discount Card as well. 

When to use a Prescription Drug Discount Card

This one is tricky. The key thing to remember is that when you use a discount card instead of your Part D insurance, the money you spent on your discounted drugs does not go towards your deductible or gap thresholds. This could save you some money in the short term, but be very expensive in the long run.

There are, however, a few scenarios when you will want to use your Prescription Discount Card over your Medicare Part D Insurance.

  • Your drug is not on your Part D plan’s formulary List: if your prescribed drug is not covered by your insurance provider, this is the best time to use a discount card. This can often dramatically lower the price you end up paying at the pharmacy for your uncovered drug.
  • You know that you will not reach your deductible: if your deductible is really high, and you know you are not going to buy enough medication for your insurance to kick in, the discount card is best.
  • You know that you will not reach catastrophic coverage: the final phase of Medicare Part D is called “Catastrophic Coverage”, where you pay only 5% for your drugs. If you will not reach this threshold and can save a lot on a drug using a card, this may be your best option.
  • Your Part D copay is more expensive than what you would pay with a discount card: If you have a $20 Part D copay, but you can get that same drug for $5 by using a discount card, you may want to consider doing so even if it does not count towards your deductible.

Can you combine Part D with a Prescription Drug Discount Card?

You cannot combine them. However, as you now know, you can decide when to use each one. As we have said, there are lots of cases when using your Part D plan actually pays off and the insurer counts it towards your deductible. Most pharmacies will process your expenses directly with your Part D insurance provider. In rare cases you might have to

  • 1- Save your receipts
  • 2- Fill out your insurer’s prescription reimbursement form
  • 3- Mail the form and your receipts to the insurer

Conclusion

Part D is the smart choice. However, a free prescription discount card in addition to Medicare Part D is even a smarter choice. Whether to use a discount card or Part D can be challenging to decide, but if you are a client of Senior65, we can help you compare your options. If you are interested in learning more and getting a free Clever RX card click here.

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