Americans that are currently on a Medicare plan are probably aware of the rising costs in prescription drugs – especially if they take prescription drugs themselves. The cost of prescription medications has been rising for years now. Costs were up by an estimated 12.6 percent in 2014, and since then have been projected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to rise by roughly 7.3 percent every year. Fortunately, there are ways for people with Medicare to lower their prescription drug costs as long as they plan properly or at least prepare for the rising costs.
Choosing the Right Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
People can avoid high prescription drug costs by choosing the right Medicare prescription drug plan. One thing to keep in mind is that premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and the list of accepted medications can actually change from one year to the next because of the fact that insurance companies revise their formularies throughout the year. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a medicare prescription drug plan:
- Prepare a list of prescription medications that you expect to take over the next year.
- Compare insurance plans with a Medicare Part D drug plan. Choose three plans to compare.
- Compare the plans and drug formularies at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
- Speak with a representative at the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
- Speak with a pharmacist. Most pharmacists have in-depth knowledge in regards to different prescription drug plans.
- Compare the annual costs of prescription drugs. Evaluate each plan by comparing premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses. Those with a Medicare Advantage plan don’t need to do this since their drug costs are part of the plan.
- Check the formulary, which is a list of covered medications. Make sure your medications are covered. Drug cost tiers change over the years – especially for brand names.
- Figure out all costs – sometimes you can be charged differently depending on the pharmacy you use.