(BPT) – Some experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of Medicare beneficiaries choose to stay in a Medicare prescription drug plan (“Part D plan”) that doesn’t match their needs. Studies show that these individuals could benefit from cost savings and better coverage by taking the time to select a different Part D plan. If you decide to evaluate your Part D coverage, here are some common hazards to avoid along the way to finding the plan that’s best for you.
Hazard 1: Getting distracted by premiums
Cost may be the determining factor in many of your purchases. However, when shopping for a Medicare prescription drug plan, cost, or specifically the plan’s monthly premium, should be only one of the factors to consider. If you’re a person who takes only one or two prescription drugs, you may opt for a lower-premium Part D plan. However, if you take three or more medications, you may need more comprehensive coverage, which may result in your considering a higher-premium plan. Always evaluate your overall annual cost for the plans you are considering.
Hazard 2: Failing to check if or how your drugs are covered
Your Medicare Part D plan will include a list of covered drugs called a formulary. Be sure you check if your prescribed drugs are on the list and, if so, how they are being covered by the plan you’re considering. Remember to check the copay for each medication, which will vary from one plan to another.
Hazard 3: Forgetting to look for a plan that offers preferred pharmacies
Plans that provide a preferred pharmacy network offer cost savings to members. Checking the local preferred retail pharmacies within the plan’s network that you’re considering may offer you the greatest retail pharmacy savings. Plans that offer mail delivery in their preferred network for medications you use regularly provide the convenience of having them delivered right to your door. Mail delivery may offer more savings than what you would get at a preferred retail pharmacy.
Hazard 4: Selecting a plan without checking the stars
Remember to check each plan’s Star Ratings before you make your choice. The plans are ranked from one to five stars based on criteria set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, such as customer service and quality of care offered to a plan’s members.
Hazard 5: Detouring from your roadmap
By staying informed and doing your research early, you can prepare and follow a roadmap to help you reach the desired destination: the Medicare Part D plan that’s right for you. Avoiding detours along the road could save you money on next year’s plan, which will help you remain on the medications you use by providing coverage that best meets your needs.
Learn how to prepare for the road ahead before the start of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) by visiting roadmapformedicare.com.