Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.
With the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D beginning on November 15, CVS/pharmacy and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are urging older adults and their caregivers to review their Medicare Part D options in order to find the lowest cost plan that meets their needs.
Confusion around the number and variety of prescription drug plans often becomes a barrier to identifying and selecting the most cost effective plan. Free online tools like the CVS/pharmacy Medicare Part D Savings Calculator at www.cvs.com/medicare simplifies the comparison process, helping seniors more readily identify the plan with the lowest overall costs.
"Plan review can seem cumbersome, but completing a plan comparison each year is an essential step toward saving," said Fernando Gonzalez, R.Ph at CVS/pharmacy. "Tools like the Medicare Part D Calculator are designed to simplify the process to help older adults and their caregivers select a plan that provides them with the greatest value and peace of mind."
A CVS/pharmacy analysis of more than 10,000 older Americans using the Medicare Part D Savings Calculator last year revealed plan participants could save an average of $612 in annual drug costs just by switching to their optimal Medicare Part D plan.(1)
"This data underscores the importance for older adults and their caregivers to review Medicare Part D plans each year," said Wendy Zenker, Vice President of the NCOA Benefits Access Group. "With the number of changes to Part D plans from year to year, Medicare beneficiaries can expect to see significant savings and receive better coverage, if they compare and shop around."
To that end, CVS/pharmacy has launched a campaign with the goal of helping millions of seniors and their caregivers realize savings on 2010 prescription costs through education and assistance in Medicare Part D plan comparison. Starting November 12, CVS/pharmacy and the NCOA are offering Medicare Part D educational events throughout Annual Enrollment period at senior centers across the country.
Consumers can also go online at www.cvs.com/medicare to use the free Medicare Part D Savings Calculator. And, CVS pharmacists will be available throughout the enrollment period to provide plan comparisons in stores for those who would like assistance.(2)
Remembering the Three Cs: Cost, Coverage and Convenience
CVS/pharmacy and NCOA recommend considering three factors when evaluating plans:
Cost - What is the plan deductible, monthly premium and prescription co-pay for the prescriptions you regularly take? Evaluate the total cost and not just the co-pays. And, identify in advance if you fall into the doughnut hole.
Coverage - Are the prescription medications you regularly take covered in the plan? Are there restrictions such as prior authorization? Each year insurance plans change, including premiums, co-pays, and the list of covered drugs. Your own prescription needs change as well.
Convenience - Can you fill the prescription at the pharmacy of your choice?
Before starting the plan selection process, older Americans should review their current medications with their pharmacist. Often, prescription costs can be lowered by switching to a generic alternative, consolidating pills or by switching to an over the counter alternative. Having these changes in place before selecting a plan can help in choosing the most affordable option and potentially avoiding the doughnut hole -- the gap in coverage if your prescription costs reach $2,830.