Medicare Drug Plan Finder

Using the Medicare Drug Plan Finder can be challenging. You can do it yourself, ask an agent, ask the Medicare drug plan carrier or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

We will show you

  • step by step how to navigate the Medicare Plan Finder site
  • how to compare drug plan results side by side
  • eliminate plans with deductibles
  • choose plans where all your drugs on on the formulary
  • find pharmacy’s with the lowest drug costs
  • where to find the estimated drug copay’s
  • how and where to enroll in a Medicare drug plan
  • compare prices using a discount drug card
  • finding prices at Canadian pharmacy’s

The entire process is more frightening than filling out your taxes but with a little practice you will figure it out. By the time you do it again during the next open enrollment you will have forgotten everything you learned.

So bookmark this page when it is time to renew your plan and you can fly through the process like a pro.

 

We are happy to run reports for our existing Medicare supplement clients.

  • We collect your drug information
  • Run reports for you based on all 24 plans in Georgia
  • Send the reports to you by email complete with a recommendation for the lowest combination of drug plan and pharmacy

Or you can call Medicare.

OK, this may not be as fun as talking with Jake from State Farm but it can still save you money.

jake-from-state-farm

Medicare Drug Plan Finder 2018 Update

As challenging as this process was for 2017, it is even more difficult for 2018 plans.

Drugs on Medicare may show as not on the formulary. Call the carrier and get a different response.

To maximize savings you may need to change pharmacy’s. One client will save almost $4,000 in 2018 by using a different pharmacy!

MAJOR discrepancies in results on Medicare.gov and carrier sites. Calling the carrier can be more confusing. Each time you call you get a different answer.

Good luck!

 

Medicare Drug Plan Finder for the Do It Yourself Person

For those who like to do it themselves here is a step by step guide to using the Medicare Drug Plan Finder.

Click this link to go to the plan finder.

https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

You can also click the General Search image below.

Enter your zip in the box Search. Click Find Plan.

Medicare Drug Plan Finder

 

Select how you get your Medicare coverage.

Most people will select Original Medicare and I Don’t Get Any Extra Help.

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Click Continue to Plan Results.

Now the fun starts.

Have all your medicine bottles lined up before moving to the next section.

Medicare drug plan finder

 

Prescription Drugs You Take

Enter the name(s) of each medication, click Find My Drug.

Choose the drug name and dosage you take. Also check off how often filled, quantity and whether you get your drugs at retail or mail order.

Repeat the process for each drug.

Note you can change the dose, add or remove the drug from your list using the buttons.

Make a note of your Drug List ID and Password Date. You will refer back to this in the future.

Then click My Drug List Is Complete.

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Choose your pharmacy(s).

If you want to compare prices by pharmacy, pick any two.

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Click Continue to Plan Results

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Check off Prescription Drug Plans with Original Medicare

Click Continue to Plan Results

The next page should look like this. If it doesn’t you have done something wrong. Go back.

Make sure the results (below) are for the correct year. The image below was taken in October, 2016 so the default is to illustrate the 2017 plans. If you need to view the current year, click that button.

You will notice your Drug List ID and Password Date follow you through the process.

 

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When you get to the Medicare drug plan page (above), scroll down until you see the options (below)

Select two or three plans that appeal to you, the click Compare Plans

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The plans you want to compare will appear side by side.

You should use your browser setting to print this page. If you know how to print and save as a PDF you should do so and save it on your computer where you can find it again.

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Notice I chose the plan with the lowest drug cost (Envision). The Envision plan has a deductible, so I picked the next lowest cost plan (Silver Script) that does not have a deductible.

Some (but not all) plans do not apply the deductible to tier 1 and tier 2 medications when using a preferred pharmacy. Be sure you know the difference.

Often, but not always, plans that have a deductible will have lower copay’s than plans that do not have a deductible.

 

View Monthly Drug Plan Costs

Scroll down until you see the Estimated Monthly Drug Costs

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The monthly costs include your premium plus the estimated cost of your drugs. If you go into the donut hole that will appear in the monthly printout (above).

If you want to see the estimated copay for each of your medications, click the View monthly drug cost details by selected drugs link.

medicare-plan-finder-10

 

Note the drug copay’s are estimated and do not reflect higher costs due to deductibles or increased costs when you are in the donut hole.

 

Dig Deeper

If you want to really take this drug plan report for a test drive, check out some other neat things you can do.

Go back to the browser frame where the monthly drug costs are shown side by side. Scroll down until you see this section (below).

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Note the tier level for each of your drugs. It won’t always be the same from carrier to carrier.

Click Print My Drug List.

Click Print Comparison Report.

The Drug List shows all the drugs you have entered by name, dosage, etc.

The Comparison Report can be customized to show only information that is relevant to your situation.

 

Finding the Lowest Drug Prices

Sometimes you have to work a bit to find the absolute lowest drug costs. There are times when you want to purchase 30 or 90 day supplies at retail. Maintenance drugs may (or may not) be cheaper by mail.

 

Current clients of Georgia Medicare Plans can stop right now.

If you purchased a Medigap plan through us do this.

Email me your Drug List ID and Password Date. Give your current zip code and county of residence. I will run your report (based on your Drug List ID and Password Date) then search for ways to cut your drug costs using mail order and discount cards.

Not a current client? Shameless plug here. Let us help you find the best Medigap plan that fits your needs and budget.

GA Medigap Rates

For next year plans I will only do this from October 1 through November 7. After that date I may not have time to perform this service, so no guarantees.

If you are not a current client, proceed as follows.

 

Your Medicare Drug Plan Finder will show you which plans save money when you order by mail.

But wait, there’s more.

Consider ordering drugs from Canada. We have personally used and recommended Blue Sky for years.

You can also save money by using a drug discount coupon from GoodRx. You have the option of going online and printing out a coupon, downloading an app for your smartphone, or requesting an ID card you can carry in your wallet.

 

Decide How You Want to Purchase Your Drugs

Get a piece of paper.

  • Make 4 columns
  • Write down each drug in column one
  • Enter the cost of the drug using your drug plan – See call the carrier (below)
  • Repeat this process for each drug from Canada and again using GoodRx
  • Go back to your Medicare Drug Plan report and remove the drugs purchased from Canada or using GoodRx
  • Run the report again

If you use insulin, most Canadian pharmacy’s will not ship it to you. Insulin prices in the US, even with a Medicare drug plan or discount card are crazy expensive. We have found one Canadian pharmacy that stocks and ships insulin direct to you.

https://rxcanada4less.com/

Check insulin pricing before enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan.

Now you are ready to sign up for a drug plan.

Almost.

Before you enroll in a plan, call the carrier you think you want to use.

  • Give them a list of all your drugs including dosage
  • Ask them for their preferred pharmacy’s – Compare that to your Medicare report
  • Which drugs (if any) are subject to the deductible (if the plan has a deductible)
  • Ask for the initial coverage copay for each drug
  • If a deductible applies, ask for the cost with and without the deductible
  • Ask for your cost if/when you are in the donut hole
  • Write all this down
  • Do NOT enroll yet – You are still not done

Now that you have the copay for each drug from the carrier you think you want to use, go back to your piece of paper with the drug prices.

 

Enroll in a Medicare Drug Plan

Now that you have all your information it is time to enroll in a drug plan.

  • You can enroll direct with the carrier by clicking the Enroll button on the Medicare site
  • Better suggestion is to call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
  • 800 MEDICARE is open 24/7 except federal holidays – You can even call at 3AM
  • You can also enroll direct with a carrier by phone or on their site

I have been advising clients to enroll via 1-800-MEDICARE for years and have had no complaints. When you follow my step by step instructions you can be enrolled in a drug plan in less than 15 minutes.

No hassle. No sales pitches.

 

Finding a Medicare Drug Plan

It will probably take you longer to read this post than it will to use the plan finder. With over 400 clients spread all over the state of Georgia, I don’t have the time to help everyone the way I would like to. By asking you, my client, to do the front end work I can still help others find a Medigap plan that fits their needs and budget without totally abandoning my existing clients.

Here are the steps you need to take to use the Medicare Drug Plan Finder

  • Go to the plan finder
  • Enter your zip and check off how you get your Medicare benefits
  • Input your current medications
  • Choose a pharmacy
  • Review the results

If you take fewer than 5 medications it will take you about 15 minutes to get results. More than 5 will take a bit longer.

If you find this helpful, share this link with your friends. Thanks, and have a great day!

 

#MedicareDrugPlanFinder #GoodRx  #MedicareOpenEnrollment #DrugsFromCanada #GeorgiaMedicarePlans #GAMedigapRates 

Medicare Drug Plan – Save Money

Save money on your Medicare drug plan with simple changes. Avoid the donut hole. Turning 65? The drug plan with the lowest premium may cost you the most.  Medicare Advantage may be your worst enemy if you want to save on prescription medications. Save even more by substituting OTC for prescription medications. Change your pharmacy, save big. Finding places that offer free prescription drugs. Take advantage of Medicare Extra Help. Lower your drug costs by ordering medications from Canada.

Georgia Medicare Plans is more than your best resource for low cost Medigap plans. In addition to over 170 different Medicare supplement plans in Georgia there are more than 40 different drug plans.

We show you the plans with the best value and let you decide. Shop and compare now.

Georgia Medicare drug plan

 

Low premium drug plan may be a mistake

Sadly, too many people focus on the monthly premium and fail to look at how much the plan REALLY costs. Every year when the new drug plans are say whatintroduced there is always one carrier that tries to capture as much of the market by offering a drug plan with the lowest premium. Some years it is Humana. Others the AARP plan from United Healthcare will have the rock bottom premium.

What’s wrong with that?

Dee has the low premium drug plan from Humana, and thought it was fine. I always offer a free drug plan review to my Medigap clients but she only took a few low cost generics and felt the Humana Walmart plan was best.

This year she decided to take me up on my offer and ask for a comparison of her Humana Part D plan with the other 40+ plans available in her zip code. Dee sent me a list of her medications (exact name, dosage, number of refills, preferred pharmacy) and I entered them into the Medicare Plan Finder.

The results surprised her.

If she simply renewed her Humana drug plan for next year the annual cost of her medications would be over $3,000. Switching to a different Part D plan with a slightly higher premium drops her drug costs to $1300.

That’s a savings of $1700 per year!

For the last 3 years she has saved over $500 per year with the Medicare supplement plan I suggested vs. the plan she picked on her own. Putting $500+ per year in Dee’s pocket vs. the insurance carrier certainly helped, but how much more could she have saved over that time if she had allowed me to help?

 

Generics, the key to savings

It is common knowledge that generic drugs can save you money, but not everyone can tolerate the fillers in generics. But did you know that some medicare disenrollmentmedications you are filling by prescription are available in the same strength as your prescription brand?

Barb has been taking a prescription dose of Niacin ER for years at the insistence of her doctor. Every month for the last several years she fills the prescription and pays $109 for 30 pills. Her existing drug plan won’t cover the prescription version since there is an OTC alternative so Barb pays the regular retail price.

A little research turned up the same dosage over the counter was available from Amazon at a cost of $45 for 500 capsules. She could have been getting almost a years supply from Amazon for about the same price as she is paying for a 30 day supply from the pharmacy.

While she was grateful for my advice she was not pleased that her doctor had her overpaying $1,000 per year for the exact same medication that was available on the shelf in the vitamin section.

These are just two examples out of many. How much can you save?

 

Medicare Advantage, one stop shopping

Many retiree’s flock to Medicare Advantage plans for the low monthly premium and convenience of having all their medical and drug needs in one package.data mining for gold

The low monthly Advantage premiums certainly are attractive, but like with everything else, the true cost is in what you pay for your health care. When you buy a Medicare Advantage plan you take the drug plan that is built in. Depending on your Georgia zip code, you may have anywhere from 2 or 3 Advantage plans to over a dozen.

But in that same area you could have 30 or more drug plans.

Toby had picked out a Gold Medicare Advantage plan based on the recommendation of some friends but at the last minute decided to compare his choice with original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan. He had already checked and found his doctors were in the Advantage network and the hospitals in his area were as well. He was quite confident that the Advantage plan would work just fine.

We discussed the merits of each plan and while he was now leaning toward a Medigap plan he wasn’t completely ready to pull the trigger. I asked for, and received, a list of his medications and ran a drug plan report for him. Even though I normally only do this for existing clients, I felt Toby needed the “big picture” to finalize his decision.

The Medigap plan I suggested had a monthly premium of $112 plus another $30 for a drug plan. Comparing to his $40 Advantage plan that included prescription medications made him want to stay with his original choice and forgo the supplement plan.

But when I showed him the difference in his drug costs with a stand alone drug plan vs. the one built into his Advantage plan, going with original Medicare, a supplement plan and separate drug plan became the obvious choice.

His annual drug costs with the Advantage plan were almost $6,000 per year MORE than the stand alone Part D!

Too often retirees only look to see if their doctor is in network and fail to calculate the cost of prescription drugs.

 

Additional money saving tips

We have several ways to help you save money on your prescription drug needs. Combining a low cost Medicare supplement plan with the RIGHT drug well informedplan is just one way.

Look for places that offer free and low cost prescription drugs. Your Publix pharmacy has a FREE medication list. Combining drugs from a reputable Canadian pharmacy with free prescription drugs can keep you out of the donut hole.

The key to saving money involves knowing where to look and how to understand your Medicare plan finder report.

Vera saved $550 per year. Bill will save over $1200. Sam saves over $900 every year.

I can’t guarantee you will save $300 to $1400 per year or more by switching drug plans any more than I can promise savings of $500+ by using one of our preferred Medigap plans over the one you have now.

The only way to know how much you can save, or could have saved, is to start with a free, no obligation Medigap quote. Compare plans side by side and see for yourself. We do have access to over 170 different Medicare supplement plans and can show you rates you won’t see anywhere else.

Then let us run a drug plan comparison.

This costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time, about 15 minutes on the phone to get a better idea of what YOU want, and then we email your report(s). Another 15 minute phone call after that and you can find out how much you can save with a better Medigap plan and drug plan.

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