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Medicare Glossary

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Appeal
- An appeal is something you do if you disagree with our decision to deny a request for coverage of prescription drugs or payment for drugs you already received. For example, you may ask for an appeal if we do not pay for a drug you think you should be able to receive.

Annual Enrollment Period - A set time each fall when members can change their health or drug plans or switch to Original Medicare. The Annual Enrollment Period is from October 15 until December 7.

Brand Name Drug - A prescription drug that is manufactured and sold by the pharmaceutical company that originally researched and developed the drug. Brand-name drugs have the same active-ingredient formula as the generic version of the drug. However, generic drugs are manufactured and sold by other drug manufacturers and are generally not available until after the patent on the brand-name drug has expired.

Catastrophic Coverage Stage - The stage in the Part D Drug Benefit where you pay a low co-payment or coinsurance for your drugs after you or other qualified parties on your behalf have spent $4,950 in 2017 in covered drugs during the covered year.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) - The Federal agency that administers Medicare.

Coinsurance - An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for prescription drugs. Coinsurance is usually a percentage (for example, 20%).

Co-payment - An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a prescription drug. A co-payment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage. For example, you might pay $10 or $20 for a prescription drug.

Cost Sharing - Cost-sharing refers to amounts that a member has to pay when drugs are received. (This is in addition to the plan's monthly premium.) Cost-sharing includes any combination of the following three types of payments: (1) any deductible amount a plan may impose before drugs are covered; (2) any fixed "co-payment" amount that a plan requires when a specific drug is received; or (3) any "coinsurance" amount, a percentage of the total amount paid for a drug, that a plan requires when a specific drug is received. A "daily cost sharing rate" may apply when your doctor prescribes less than a full month's supply of certain drugs for you and you are required to pay a co-pay.

Cost-Sharing Tier - Every drug on the list of covered drugs is in one of our cost-sharing tiers. In general, the higher the cost-sharing tier, the higher your cost for the drug.

Coverage Determination - A decision about whether a drug prescribed for you is covered by the plan and the amount, if any, you are required to pay for the prescription. In general, if you bring your prescription to a pharmacy and the pharmacy tells you the prescription isn't covered under your plan, that isn't a coverage determination. You need to call or write to your plan to ask for a formal decision about the coverage. Coverage determinations are also called "coverage decisions."

Covered Drugs - The term we use to mean all of the prescription drugs covered by our plan.

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.

Customer Service - A department within our plan responsible for answering your questions about your membership, benefits, grievances, and appeals.

Daily Cost-Sharing Rate - A "daily cost-sharing rate" may apply when your doctor prescribes less than a full month's supply of certain drugs for you and you are required to pay a co-pay.  A daily cost sharing rate is the co-pay divided by the number of days in a month's supply.  For example, if your co-pay for a one-month supply of a drug is $30, and a one-month's supply in your plan is 30 days, then your "daily cost-sharing rate" is $1 per day. This means you pay $1 for each day's supply when you fill your prescription.

Deductible - The amount you must pay for prescriptions before our plan begins to pay.

Disenroll or Disenrollment - The process of ending your membership in our plan. Disenrollment may be voluntary (your own choice) or involuntary (not your own choice).

Dispensing Fee - A fee charged each time a covered drug is dispensed to pay for the cost of filling a prescription. The dispensing fee covers costs such as the pharmacist's time to prepare and package the prescription.

Emergency - A medical emergency is when you, or any other prudent layperson with an average knowledge of health and medicine, believe that you have medical symptoms that require immediate medical attention to prevent loss of life, loss of a limb, or loss of function of a limb. The medical symptoms may be an illness, injury, severe pain, or a medical condition that is quickly getting worse.

Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and Disclosure Information - This document, along with your enrollment form and any other attachments, riders, or other optional coverage selected, which explains your coverage, what we must do, your rights, and what you have to do as a member of our plan.

Exception - A type of coverage determination that, if approved, allows you to get a drug that is not on your plan sponsor's formulary (a formulary exception), or get a non-preferred drug at the preferred cost-sharing level (a tiering exception). You may also request an exception if your plan sponsor requires you to try another drug before receiving the drug you are requesting, or the plan limits the quantity or dosage of the drug you are requesting (a formulary exception).

Extra Help - A Medicare program to help people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug program costs, such as premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

Generic Drug - A prescription drug that is approved by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) as having the same active ingredient(s) as the brand name drug. Generally, a "generic" drug works the same as a brand name drug and usually costs less.

Grievance - A type of complaint you make about us or one of our network pharmacies, including a complaint concerning the quality of your care. This type of complaint does not involve coverage or payment disputes.

Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). If your income is above a certain limit, you will pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount in addition to your plan premium. For example, individuals with income greater than $85,000 and married couples with income greater than $170,000 must pay a higher Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage premium amount. This additional amount is called the income-related monthly adjustment amount. Less than 5 percent of people with Medicare are affected, so most people will not pay a higher premium.

Initial Coverage Limit - The maximum limit of coverage under the Initial Coverage Stage.

Initial Coverage Stage - This is the stage before your total drug expenses have reached $3,700, including amounts you have paid and what our plan has paid on your behalf.

Initial Enrollment Period - When you are first eligible for Medicare, the period of time when you can sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B. For example, if you're eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, your Initial Enrollment Period is the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Late Enrollment Penalty - An amount added to your monthly premium for Medicare drug coverage if you go without creditable coverage (coverage that is expected to pay, on average, at least as much as standard Medicare prescription drug coverage) for a continuous period of 63 days or more. You pay this higher amount as long as you have a Medicare drug plan. There are some exceptions. For example, if you receive Extra Help from Medicare to pay your prescription drug plan costs, the late enrollment penalty rules do not apply to you. If you receive Extra Help, you do not pay a penalty, even if you go without creditable prescription drug coverage.

List of Covered Drugs (Formulary or "Drug List") - A list of prescription drugs covered by the plan. The drugs on this list are selected by the plan with the help of doctors and pharmacists.

Low Income Subsidy (LIS) - See "Extra Help."

Medicaid (or Medical Assistance) - A joint Federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with low incomes and limited resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Medically Accepted Indication - A use of a drug that is either approved by the Food and Drug Administration or supported by certain reference books.

Medicare - The Federal health insurance program for people 65 years of age or older, some people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (generally those with permanent kidney failure who need dialysis or a kidney transplant). People with Medicare can get their Medicare health coverage through Original Medicare, a Medicare Cost Plan, a PACE plan, or a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan - Sometimes called Medicare Part C. A plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. A Medicare Advantage Plan can be an HMO, PPO, a Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan, or a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plan. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan, and are not paid for under Original Medicare. In most cases, Medicare Advantage Plans also offer Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage). These plans are called Medicare Advantage Plans with Prescription Drug Coverage. Everyone who has Medicare Part A and Part B is eligible to join any Medicare health plan that is offered in their area, except people with End-Stage Renal Disease (unless certain exceptions apply).

Medicare Cost Plan - A Medicare Cost Plan is a plan operated by a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) in accordance with a cost-reimbursed contract under section 1876(h) of the Act.

Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program - A program that provides discounts on most covered Part D brand name drugs to Part D enrollees who have reached the Coverage Gap Stage and who are not already receiving "Extra Help." Discounts are based on agreements between the Federal government and certain drug manufacturers. For this reason, most, but not all, brand name drugs are discounted.

Medicare-Covered Services - Services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.

Medicare Health Plan - A Medicare health plan is offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits to people with Medicare who enroll in the plan. This term includes all Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Cost Plans, Demonstration/Pilot Programs, and Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare Part D) - Insurance to help pay for outpatient prescription drugs, vaccines, biologicals and some supplies not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B.

"Medigap" (Medicare Supplement Insurance) Policy - Medicare supplement insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill "gaps" in Original Medicare. Medigap policies only work with Original Medicare. (A Medicare Advantage Plan is not a Medigap policy.)

Member (Member of our Plan, or Plan Member) - A person with Medicare who is eligible to get covered services, who has enrolled in our plan and whose enrollment has been confirmed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Network Pharmacy - A network pharmacy is a pharmacy where members of our plan can get their prescription drug benefits. We call them "network pharmacies" because they contract with our plan. In most cases, your prescriptions are covered only if they are filled at one of our network pharmacies.

Original Medicare (Traditional Medicare or Fee-for-service Medicare) - Original Medicare is offered by the government, and not a private health plan like Medicare Advantage Plans and prescription drug plans. Under Original Medicare, Medicare services are covered by paying doctors, hospitals, and other health care provider's payment amounts established by Congress. You can see any doctor, hospital, or other health care provider that accepts Medicare. You must pay the deductible. Medicare pays its share of the Medicare-approved amount, and you pay your share. Original Medicare has two parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) and is available everywhere in the United States.

Out-of-Network Pharmacy - A pharmacy that does not have a contract with our plan to coordinate or provide covered drugs to members of our plan. Most drugs you get from out-of-network pharmacies are not covered by our plan unless certain conditions apply.

Out-of-Pocket Costs - See the definition for "cost sharing" above. A member's cost-sharing requirement to pay for a portion of drugs received is also referred to as the member's out-of-pocket cost requirement.

PACE plan - A PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) plan combines medical, social, and long-term care services for frail people to help people stay independent and living in their community (instead of moving to a nursing home) as long as possible, while getting the high-quality care they need. People enrolled in PACE plans receive both their Medicare and Medicaid benefits through the plan. PACE is not available in all states.

Part C - See "Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan."

Part D
- The voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program. (For ease of reference, we will refer to the prescription drug benefit program as Part D.)

Part D Drugs - Drugs that can be covered under Part D. We may or may not offer all Part D drugs. (See your formulary for a specific list of covered drugs.) Certain categories of drugs were specifically excluded by Congress from being covered as Part D drugs.

Preferred Cost-sharing - Preferred cost-sharing means lower cost-sharing for certain covered Part D drugs at certain network pharmacies.

Premium - The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company, or a health care plan for health or prescription drug coverage.

Prior Authorization - Approval in advance to get certain drugs that may or may not be on our formulary. Some drugs are covered only if your doctor or other network provider gets prior authorization from us. Covered drugs that need prior authorization are marked in the formulary.

Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) - A group of practicing doctors and other health care experts paid by the Federal government to check and improve the care given to Medicare patients.

Quantity Limits - A management tool that is designed to limit the use of selected drugs for quality, safety, or utilization reasons. Limits may be on the amount of the drug that we cover per prescription or for a defined period of time.

Service Area - A geographic area where a prescription drug plan accepts members if it limits membership based on where people live. The plan may disenroll you if you permanently move out of the plan's service area.

Special Enrollment Period - A set time when members can change their health or drug plans or return to Original Medicare. Situations in which you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period include: if you move outside the service area, if you are getting "Extra Help" with your prescription drug costs, if you move into a nursing home, or if we violate our contract with you.

Standard cost-sharing - Standard cost-sharing is cost-sharing other than preferred cost-sharing offered at a network pharmacy.

Step Therapy - A utilization tool that requires you to first try another drug to treat your medical condition before we will cover the drug your physician may have initially prescribed.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - A monthly benefit paid by Social Security to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 and older. SSI benefits are not the same as Social Security benefits.

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Y0700_WCM_21424E Last Updated On: 10/1/2018
Medicare and Prescription Drug Plan Members: A new and enhanced member portal will soon be available. This portal will offer a fresh homepage, all new billing and payment options for 2020, and more! Check back on 10/15 to see what else is new. ×