TOP 5 TIPS FROM SENIORS ABOUT MEDICARE DRUG PLANS FOR 2008
-- BASED ON ENROLEE FEEDBACK ON MEDICAREDRUGPLANS.COM --
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14, 2007 – To help seniors make smarter decisions about Medicare Part D prescription drug plans during the open enrollment period which begins tomorrow, MedicareDrugPlans.com has released its top five tips based on enrollee experiences that have been posted on its free website.
TIP #1: CHECK WHAT HAS CHANGED IN YOUR PLAN:
Here’s what can happen if you don’t:
“Plan went from 47.93 per month to 82.10 per month - and also dropped brand name drugs from the doughnut hole - Classic Bait and Switch!!!” – Read full review
Related Fact: 75% of current enrollees will face higher premiums in 2008.
TIP #2: KNOW HOW DRUG COSTS GET COUNTED AGAINST YOUR LIMIT
Avoid what happened to this person who didn’t know:
“I didn't realize they use full cost of prescriptions to add toward doughnut hole. I've reached it early in year and will not be using this plan next year.” – Read full review
Related Fact: It’s the full cost of the drug (that is, what you pay and what your plan pays) that moves you toward the coverage gap or “doughnut hole.” If you are among the millions of seniors with annual drug costs exceeding $2,510 a year, you will end up in the gap until drug spending reaches $5,726, at which point the plans cover 95% of drug costs. If you enter the gap but don’t expect to spend enough to reach the other side, try to get your medications for the lowest possible cost – which might mean going outside of your plan. Canadian online pharmacies often offer the lowest brand name prescription drug prices, while US pharmacies have the lowest prices on generic drugs. Compare drug prices for free at www.pharmacychecker.com.
TIP 3#: FIND OUT NOW WHAT’S COVERED IN THE GAP
Don’t rely on what you are told. Check plan formularies and read the materials carefully -- as these people learned:
“Telephone representatives lack knowledge. For example, they were unable to explain the coverage gap on several calls.” – Read full review
“I selected [the plan] based on GAP coverage and now discover that my meds are non-formulary, contrary to what I researched in December 2006. High cost and few meds in formulary. Bringing my costs to unaffordable levels.” -- Read full review
Related Fact: Like last year, about 71% of plans don’t provide any coverage during the gap. Worse, about half of those plans that covered all generics last year are covering only some generics this year.
TIP #4: KEEP IN MIND THAT PLANS CAN CHANGE DURING THE YEAR
This person learned the hard way:
“My most expensive prescription was on their list on their website, in their info packet and Walgreens print out. But when I went to fill the prescription, it was not covered. They say they can change their formulary list any time…” – Read full review
Related Fact: A plan can change its formulary during the year and is only required to notify you sixty days in advance. Unfortunately, you can’t change plans until the end of the year except under special circumstances, such as if you move to a new area or enter a nursing home.
TIP #5: UNDERSTAND WHICH DRUGS REQUIRE APPROVAL AND IF YOU’RE LIKELY TO GET YOUR REQUEST APPROVED
Some plans make it very hard to get certain drugs:
“When I looked at drug plans I ask[ed]…if they covered Aciphex. They told me yes all I needed was a referal from my doctor. My Doctor has repeatedly tried to get Aciphex for me.” – Read full review
Related Fact: You may need to go through an “appeals process” to get your plan to cover the drug that your doctor prescribes, even if you have taken it for a long time. Enrollees report that some plans make it hard to get approval.
At MedicareDrugPlans.com, consumers share experiences and ratings of Medicare Part D prescription plans. MedicareDrugPlans.com and its parent, PharmacyChecker.com, have no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products, insurance or pharmacy benefits. PharmacyChecker.com is based in Westchester, New York. For further information contact Tod Cooperman, MD, President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gabriel Levitt, Vice President at email@example.com.