5 Tips for Choosing a Medicare Part D Plan

If you’re on Social Security Disability and receiving Medicare benefits, you quickly learn that Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover your outpatient prescription drugs.

Enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan to cover these costs may be right for you. But the question of whether to join a Part D plan is simple when compared to the difficulty of selecting from the multitude of available Part D plans.

Here are 5 tips for how to choose the right Medicare Part D plan for your needs and budget.

(1) Visit the official Medicare website Medicare Prescription Plan Finder to learn which plans are available to you.

(2) Make a list of your current prescription medications and look each up in each plan’s drug formulary to determine if it is covered under that plan and at what rate. Determine what restrictions may apply to that drug, such as prior authorization, step therapy, generic only, etc.

(3) Determine what each plan will cost you by adding up the cost of the Part D plan’s monthly premium and your copays for your medications under each plan so you can compare apples to apples between the various plans. Make sure you know whether the plan offers any coverage in the doughnut hole, while it still exists. (The donut hole is the gap between the limit of what Medicare Part D plans will cover for prescription medications and the kick in of catastrophic coverage in which you generally have to pay out of pocket. For 2012, however, you will only have to pay less than half the out of pocket cost and by 2020 the donut hole is phased out completely).

(4) Make sure your regular pharmacy works with the plan you are considering.

(5) Get personalized help from your state’s Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) http://www.hapnetwork.org/ship-locator/. These non-profit agencies provide information for Medicare recipients in each state to help them with questions about available policies and other Medicare-related issues.
Do you have questions about selecting a Medicare Part D plan? Please share in the comments.

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