Pick a drug plan, Medicare 101. Finding the RIGHT Part D plan is the most challenging part of Medicare. Experienced agents often get it wrong.
Medicare Part D has a lot of moving parts. Formulary’s. Deductibles. Copay’s. Coinsurance. Preferred pharmacy’s. Brand name drugs. Generics. Which drugs are less expensive if you pay CASH.
It usually takes me anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to run a drug report. Add another 10 to 30 minutes to explain to my Medigap client how to properly use the plan.
Very few people, including agents, understand drug plan deductibles.
Table of Contents
Choosing Part D Isn’t Easy
Many think choosing a Part D plan is simple. Look for the plan that does not have a deductible and pick the one with the lowest premium.
That is the WRONG way to pick a drug plan . . . unless you enjoy OVERPAYING for your drug coverage.
Whether you pick a drug plan or you allow someone to help , at least make sure you get it right.
Do you want to DIY? Here is where you start.
Let me know how this works for you.
I have been running Medicare drug plan reports since 2010. The first few years I had no idea what I was doing. I made mistakes but fortunately they weren’t costly.
Showing clients how their copay changed once the plan deductible was satisfied was impossible. A few years ago Medicare reworked their software so now they can see month to month how their OOP changes.
When you use these new reports it is very obvious why a deductible plan produces lower OOP costs.
Why is Medicare Part D so Confusing?
Seniors often buy the wrong drug plan and spend too much on their prescription plan. Seniors on Medicare spend an average of $263 per month on prescription medications.
Lower your medication bill by only using your drug card when necessary. The right drug plan will save a lot on brand names but you will almost always pay MORE for generics.
Consider paying cash or using GoodRx instead for maximum savings. Also pick a drug plan that has a deductible.
This report compares a $17 plan with a deductible vs a $79 plan with no deductible. Not only is the premium for the no deductible plan considerably higher but so are the copay’s.
This is not an aberration. No deductible drug plans are more difficult to find. Also the premiums AND copay’s are noticeably higher than plans with a deductible.
Why not let my Pharmacist Help me Pick a Plan?
Your druggist probably has no idea how to run a Medicare drug plan report. Even if they do know how, they will not have the time. He or she will simply recommend a plan they see most often.
That means you may not know how much you could have saved compared to the other 2019 Medicare Part D plans.
Have you bought something recommended by a friend then later discovered you PAID TOO MUCH?
Sometimes you can return the item for a refund.
Medicare drug plans don’t work that way.
Your copay can range dramatically from one plan to the next. Copay’s are even further impacted by using the wrong pharmacy.
Last year I ran a report for a client. Had he kept his existing plan and pharmacy his total annual out of pocket (premiums + copay’s) would have been $13,000. By switching plans AND pharmacy’s he cut his OOP to $6,000.
You Can Pick Your Own Drug Plan
Some folks don’t want help with Part D. They have done it for their parents or other relatives. The plan they found worked so no need to make a change.
As one who runs hundreds of Medicare Part D reports every year I can tell you this. Picking a drug plan is not easy.
Sometimes I will run the report several times to find the lowest possible combination of premiums and copay’s.
Most folks who take the DIY approach only run the report once.
I tell my clients to run their own report, then let me generate a report. Almost without exception my total out of pocket is less.
This is all about saving money by picking the best drug plan. And that is the way it should be.