Since Medicare A and B do not include any prescription drug coverage, you way want to consider the purchase of a "stand alone Prescription Drug Plan", also known as Medicare Part D. Offered by authorized insurance companies, these plans offer a way for Medicare beneficiaries to lower their drug out-of-pocket costs.
Not all drug plans cover each medication in the same way. In fact, Part D coverage varies widely. It's important to compare plans before enrolling and to review your plan each year that you keep it. This is because plans, benefits and premiums can all change from one year to the next.
Although you're not required to have a Medicare Part D plan, you will face a penalty if you do not maintain creditable drug coverage and decide to enroll at a later time.
Medicare provides a useful tool to allow Medicare beneficiaries to compare costs and benefits of all available prescription drug plans. To access that tool, click here. Simply enter your zip code, your medications and choose your pharmacy. You'll be able to make an informed decision on which drug plan to go with.
How to Lower Your Drug Costs
If your prescription drug costs are higher than you would like them to be, there are a few things you should consider.
1. If you meet certain asset and income requirements, you may qualify for "Extra Help". Call your local Social Security office and discuss your situation. If you qualify, you can receive help paying for Plan premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Savings on this program is usually substantial.
2. Talk with your doctor about finding alternatives to expensive medications.
3. Ask your doctor about Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). Many drug manufacturers offer free or low cost medications to those who qualify. If your provider won't or can't help you, you can always research these programs yourself by going to the Needy Meds website.
5. Often you can find substantial discounts available for your medications. Some states offer prescription assistance. In many situations, discounts can be obtained by using a discount service. There is normally no charge to use these services.
4. There are other alternatives that can be explored. We are always happy to help you consider ALL of your options.