Your 5-Point Checklist for Choosing a Medicare Part D PlanPosted by Medicare Made Clear
You may be sifting through endless mailings, emails and ads lately, each touting the benefits of this or that Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. It may be time to narrow your options and select a plan for next year.
Medicare Open Enrollment lasts from October 15 through December 7. You have until then to pick a plan based on your needs, if you choose. But how do you know which plan might be right for you? The answer may be in the details.
Our 5-point checklist may help you find a Medicare Part D plan that offers cost-savings and convenience. Look for the following five features as you review plan details and compare plans.
Low or $0 Copays
Some Medicare Part D plans offer $0 copays for certain drugs on their formularies (drug list). These drugs are usually in the low tiers of a tiered formulary.
With some plans you may pay nothing out of pocket when filling prescriptions for generic drugs that are commonly in tier 1 or tier 2 of a tiered formulary.
Plan formularies may have higher tiers, too. Brand-name drugs typically cost more than generics and may be placed in tier 3, tier 4, tier 5 or higher tiers. Drugs in higher tiers generally require higher copays.
Medication Home Delivery
Trips to the pharmacy can be time consuming and may require advance planning. Medication home delivery is a service that may end those trips or at least cut down on them. The service ships your refills right to your door, and you can usually get a 90-day supply at a time. You could even pay less than you would pay at a retail pharmacy.
Drug Pricing Tool
Medicare Part D plans with drug pricing tools let you search for drugs and prices online before filling prescriptions at the pharmacy. Pricing is based on your specific plan benefits and includes costs for home delivery, if offered, and pharmacy pickup. Some tools also will show you other drug options that may cost less as well as additional information that may help you make informed decisions.
No matter how well you manage your prescriptions, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget to get a refill of a drug you take regularly. Some Medicare Part D plans offer refill reminders that could help you avoid being caught short.
Refill reminders may be sent by text message or email. You tell the plan how far in advance you want to be reminded, and the plan sends the reminders. With some plans, you can even set up reminders to help you remember to take your drugs at the right times.
- Automatic Refills
Medicare Part D plans with automatic refill programs let you sign up to have refills sent to you on an ongoing basis. This could be a great option for medications you take regularly. You won’t have to worry about ordering a refill, and you may never run out of your medication again!
Reviewing Medicare Part D plan materials to make a wise selection can feel overwhelming. But it may go a lot smoother when you know what to look for. Decide what features are important to you, such as $0 copays, medication home delivery and others that provide cost-saving or convenience, and look for plans that may meet your needs. The Plan Finder at Medicare.gov is a good place to start your search.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.