Optimizing Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

If you take regular prescriptions, you already know how expensive it can be. The older we get, the more chronic conditions set in, and our medications get even more expensive. That’s why having a prescription drug plan is so important.

For people with Medicare health insurance benefits there are two ways to get drug coverage. You can enroll in Original Medicare and opt for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). If you choose, you may enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MAPD) Plan, known as Part C, which includes prescription drug coverage.

Ideas to help you save out-of-pocket expenses:

  • Avoid the late enrollment penalty by opting for prescription drug coverage as soon as you are eligible.
  • Choose the right plan for you. Use the medicare.gov Plan Finder tool which can help you find out which plans are available in your area. Then you can compare the various options.
  • A formulary is a list of drugs your plan covers. Be sure your plan’s formulary includes the drugs you need, or you will have to pay for them out-of-pocket. Many plans also group drugs into tiers, with those in lower tiers costing less than those in higher ones. If you have been using expensive drugs in a higher tier, check with your doctor if there are generic drugs or equivalent lower tier drugs.
  • Use generic drugs if possible with your doctor’s approval. They are as safe and strong as brand-name drugs, and there is often little or no copayment.
  • Refill less often. Instead of buying the drugs you need every month, buy a two- or three-month supply. You’ll save money by buying in bulk, and you’ll only have to make one copayment to fill your prescription.
  • See if there’s a pharmacy with mail service in your plan; it’s often less expensive.
  • Find out if you qualify for Extra Help to help meet your prescription drug costs.

In conclusion, there are things you can do to help keep your prescription drug costs down, if you are diligent to attend to these details.

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