Medicare Coverage for Xeljanz XR: Everything You Need to Know

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Xeljanz XR is a medication prescribed to treat certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Its active ingredient, tofacitinib, works by targeting the immune system to reduce inflammation and provide relief to patients. Xeljanz XR has shown promising results in managing the symptoms of these chronic conditions, improving the quality of life for many individuals.

Medicare Coverage for Xeljanz XR

Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily catering to individuals aged 65 and older, as well as those with certain disabilities. While Medicare provides coverage for a wide range of medical services and prescription drugs, it’s essential to understand the specifics regarding Xeljanz XR coverage.

  1. Medicare Part A and B Coverage: Xeljanz XR falls under Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs. It’s important to note that Original Medicare (Part A and B) does not include coverage for most prescription medications like Xeljanz XR. However, beneficiaries can obtain coverage through a Medicare Part D plan.
  2. Medicare Part D Plans: Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans provide coverage for a broad range of prescription drugs, including Xeljanz XR. It’s crucial to compare different Part D plans to find one that offers the most suitable coverage for your specific needs.
  3. Formularies and Tiers: Part D plans often have a formulary, which is a list of covered drugs. Each drug on the formulary is assigned to a specific tier, indicating the cost-sharing amount. Xeljanz XR may fall under different tiers depending on the plan. Therefore, it’s important to review the formulary to determine the out-of-pocket costs associated with the medication.
  4. Prior Authorization and Step Therapy: Some Part D plans may require prior authorization or step therapy before covering Xeljanz XR. Prior authorization involves getting approval from the insurance company before the prescription is filled, while step therapy requires trying alternative, lower-cost medications before Xeljanz XR is covered.

Eligibility and Enrollment

To access Medicare coverage for Xeljanz XR, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria and complete the enrollment process. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Eligibility: To be eligible for Medicare, you must be 65 years or older, have qualifying disabilities, or have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). If you meet any of these criteria, you can proceed with enrollment.
  2. Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): Your IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after. It’s highly recommended to enroll in Medicare during this period to avoid potential late enrollment penalties.
  3. General Enrollment Period (GEP): If you missed your IEP, the GEP runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. Enrolling during this period may incur late penalties and result in delayed coverage.
  4. Special Enrollment Period (SEP): Certain circumstances may grant you a SEP, allowing you to enroll in or make changes to your Medicare coverage outside the standard enrollment periods. Examples include losing employer coverage or moving to a new location.

How to Ensure Seamless Coverage

To ensure a seamless experience with Medicare coverage for Xeljanz XR, it’s important to follow these steps:

  1. Review Medicare Part D Plans: Research and compare different Medicare Part D plans available in your area. Consider factors such as monthly premiums, formularies, cost-sharing requirements, and pharmacy networks.
  2. Consult a Healthcare Provider: Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss Xeljanz XR as a treatment option and seek their guidance on the appropriate Medicare Part D plan to meet your healthcare needs.
  3. Enroll in a Part D Plan: Once you’ve identified a suitable Part D plan, follow the enrollment instructions provided by the plan or contact a licensed insurance agent to assist you with the process.
  4. Understand Plan Coverage Changes: Keep track of any changes in your Medicare Part D plan’s formulary or coverage policies. Being aware of updates ensures you can anticipate potential out-of-pocket expenses and seek alternatives if necessary.


  • Xeljanz XR is a medication used to manage certain inflammatory conditions.
  • Original Medicare (Part A and B) does not cover Xeljanz XR, but it can be obtained through Medicare Part D plans.
  • Part D plans have formularies and tiers that determine the cost-sharing amount for Xeljanz XR.
  • Prior authorization and step therapy may be required for coverage.
  • To access Medicare coverage, meet eligibility requirements and enroll during the appropriate enrollment periods.
  • Research Part D plans, consult with a healthcare provider, and enroll in a suitable plan to ensure seamless coverage.

Helpful Resources:

  1. – Prescription drug coverage (Part D)
  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Medicare & You Handbook
  3. National Institute on Aging – Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans
  4. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – Medicare

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