Medicare drug plans: choose Medicare Part D enrollment wisely
Let’s face it, with drug costs through the roof, it’s a necessity to enroll in a Medicare Part D insurance program. But in some cases Medicare Part D enrollment can be a slippery slope.
Don’t choose a plan based on monthly premium alone.
When considering a Medicare drug plan many beneficiaries opt for the plan with a low monthly premium. But there are several factors to consider when determining which plan is best for you. In addition to monthly premium, some other things to consider include:
- The plan’s formulary, which is a list of covered drugs.
- Whether or not an annual deductible is required.
- What tiers your medications fall into.
- The amount of the co-pays.
- Whether or not a mail order option is available.
- Is the plan readily accepted by your pharmacy.
Medicare Part D formulary.
When considering Medicare Part D enrollment, all companies must make their formulary available. The formulary will include a list of all covered medications and detail which tier they are listed in. The Part D formulary is key to choosing the best plan.
There are typically four tiers:
Tier 1 – Preferred generics
Tier 2 – Preferred name-brand
Tier 3 – Non-preferred name-brand
tier 4 – Specialty
Determine if your medications are covered and compare tier placement from one company to the next.
Medicare Part D deductible.
Medicare Part D insurance plans can include an annual deductible up to $400. Not all plans include an annual deductible. A deductible may get you a lower monthly premium.
Medicare drug plans co-pays.
Co-pays can vary from one plan to the next with the same company and certainly can vary from company to company. Make sure that if you are filling a tier 1 prescription at a retailer that offers $4 drug prescriptions, that you receive that price, even if your Medicare Part D insurance has a higher tier 1 co-pay.
Medicare drug plans mail order options.
Most Part D drug plans include an option to receive your prescriptions for maintenance medications by mail. Plans will often charge two co-pays for a three month supply. Make sure that this is the case with the Medicare drug plans that you are considering.
When considering Medicare Part D enrollment, companies must provide you with a list of network pharmacies. Make sure that you are satisfied with the list.
The best time to consider Medicare Part D enrollment
You need to enroll in Medicare Part D insurance when you first enroll in Medicare. Many times new Medicare beneficiaries will rationalize that, since they are not taking medications, it would be financially wise to delay Part D enrollment.
Senior insurance is a complete package. Medicare insurance, a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan and Part D drug coverage. Medicare even utilizes a little leverage to entice you to take advantage of Medicare Part D enrollment by charging you a penalty for late enrollment. Also it’s wise to consider that it’s called insurance for a reason. You may need some expensive medications in the future and you must adhere to the Part D enrollment periods.
Armed with this information, you should be able to make a wise decision about Medicare Part D insurance. Evaluate all of the Medicare drug plans available in your area and initiate your Medicare Part D enrollment process.