Comparing Medicare Drug Plans

Find the Medicare Plans in your Area

Part D Plans are easier to compare once you know which plans are in your area. All of these plans are slightly different and before you spend a lot of time comparing plans call and make sure that the plan that you are interested in is available. Once you have narrowed down a few companies ask yourself a few key questions. For example:

  • What can I afford to spend?
  • How many medications do I take?
  • Does my family have a history of certain types of things like high-blood pressure that is treated with prescriptions drugs?
  • How much can I afford to spend on long-term drugs if I don't have additional coverage but end up needing medications?

Look closely at each company's Formulary when Comparing Medicare Part D Plans

The Formulary is the essence of these plans and when you have two of them sitting side by side you can see very quickly which plan is the better one. Make sure the drugs that you take are in the lowest cost tier group of the formulary. This makes a difference because the company can try to force you to try a less expensive drug and this is not always beneficial for your health. In addition, look closely at the exclusions in the Formulary. Compare each plan's exclusions. High exclusion rates are often the sign of a poor plan.

Ask About Network Pharmacies and Coverage Rules

Not all Part D plans require you to use Network Pharmacies but many do. This is especially true of MA-PDs. If the companies you are comparing use Network pharmacies and one is much more convenient, this could influence your decision about which company to use. Similarly, Part D coverage rules can be tricky because they generally require the doctor to do something on your behalf.

Auntie Lou says, "Good luck with that, the fewer coverage rules the better."

Coverage rules may require "pre-authorization" before a prescription can be filled, Step Therapy (a program where you must try other cheaper drugs than the ones you take now) and complex quantity limits. Read the fine print on all these coverage rules. Plan regulations will likely cross a few plans off your list.

Read Reviews, Learn about the Company

When choosing a Part D Plan you are dealing with private insurance companies and they are not all created equally. Look at how the company is rated and reviewed online. Discuss your insurance choices with your friends and family. You don't want to be worrying about your insurance when you are ill or hurt so do this research now.