Simply assuming your current Part D plan is still your best option can cost you money. Do you have new prescription medications? Have any of your prescription dosages changed? Have you moved within your state so a different pharmacy is now more convenient?
Take the time to consider which plan is best for your current prescriptions and your preferred pharmacies to delay or even avoid reaching the coverage gap (often called the “donut hole”). Open enrollment for 2015 Medicare plans starts today, October 15th, and ends December 7, 2014.
Finding the right plan may seem a daunting task with dozens of Prescription Drug Plans offered in each state. The Kaiser Family foundation found that just 5 percent of enrollees have selected the highest rated plan and many low income beneficiaries who are eligible for plans with no premiums are instead paying higher premiums for coverage. Fortunately, there are websites to help you review your plan options.
First, Medicare.gov provides an online Plan Finder tool. Another tool is eHealthMedicare.com. Both will guide you through the plan selection process using your zip code, prescriptions, and local pharmacies. By using these online plan finders you can quickly and easily see your plan options and the costs you can expect.
Medicare.gov also offers step-by-step videos (located on the right side of the Plan Finder page) to help you navigate the online Plan Finder tool. There are two search options: general search or personalized search. To use the personalized search you will need to have your complete Medicare information available to input into the search tool. If you do not have your Medicare information available or you do not wish to enter your Medicare information online you can use the general search. Both the general and personalized searches require your zip code, complete prescription medications list, and preferred pharmacies to provide accurate results.
eHealthMedicare.com allows you to personalize search results and savings estimates using your zip code, list of medications and dosages, local pharmacy, and current plan name. Like Medicare.gov’s general search, eHealthMedicare.com does not require any personally identifying information. (Note: you are not required to enter your name, phone numbers, or e-mail address when prompted – you may simply leave these blank and click “Get Quotes” to proceed.) Click “Calculate Savings” on the left side of the plans page to add your medications, pharmacy, and current plan; or wait a minute or so and window should pop up also with a “Calculate Savings” button.
Once you have reviewed the plan options available, you can pick the one that best suits your needs in the coming year.