Part D Prescription Drug Plans

The Part D Prescription Drug program was introduced by Medicare in 2006.  It offers those in the Medicare program prescription drug coverage offered by private companies contracted with Medicare.  Here are some important things to know about Medicare's prescription drug program.

 

  • Which plan is a good fit for someone is highly individualized; it is based on the medications a person is taking.  The best plan for one person could be the worst for the next.  The only way to know which plan is best for you is to evaluate all the plans for the medications you're taking.

 

  • Medicare offers a service called The Plan Finder.  By providing the names of your medications, with frequency and dosage, along with the name of the pharmacy you use, this tool will estimate your costs for all the plans so you can see the total estimated cost--premium plus copayments--for your medications.  This is a valuable tool in selecting the drug plan best for you.

 

  • Lowest annual cost is the key issue to keep in mind with drug plans.  Your annual drug expenses are a combination of the monthly premium and drug copays.  Don't make the mistake of choosing the plan with the lowest premium, as it could be the most expensive plan depending on your drug copays.

 

  • A plan with a deductible doesn't necessarily mean a more expensive plan. A drug plan with a deductible will have higher costs early in the year, but may have lower costs later in the year.  Again, the most important number is the total annual cost, which includes your monthly premium and drug copays over the course of the year.

 

  • With the exception of those new to Medicare or those who qualify for a special election, enrollment in a Medicare drug plan must be made during the Annual Election Period, October 15 to December 7.  Once you're in a drug plan, you're in it for the next calendar year.

 

These are just a few of the important things to know about Medicare's prescription drug plans.  If you have any questions or need any counsel, don't hesitate to call us.