As we wrote a few weeks ago, there are loads of changes coming to Medicare Part D next year. Changes to your plan’s deductible and monthly premium can impact your wallet, for better or for worse! We’ve analyzed the plans from 2013 and 2014 and identified those with notable changes to their deductibles and premiums.

Keep in mind that there may be other important changes to a plan, such as those to its formulary or cost sharing structure. For example, the deductible for Blue MedicareRx Value plan double in 2014, and it is also losing about 700 drugs from its formulary. On the other hand, this plan and others might see increases in deductibles or premiums correspond with lower co-pays or better donut hole coverage, which could save you a lot of money.

The tables below show you examples of plans with large changes, and aren’t meant to be comprehensive. To view more plan options, and read reviews and ratings by members, head over to

Notable Decreases in Plan Deductibles

Plan Name States 2013 Deductible 2014 Deductible Dollar Change % Change

Express Scripts Medicare – Choice (PDP)

Many States $200 0 -$200 -100%
Health Alliance Medicare Prescription Plan – Enhcd (PDP)

Illinois $325 0 -$325 -100%
United American – Enhanced (PDP) Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, $40 $20 -$20 -50%

Notable Increases in Deductible

Plan Name States 2013 Deductible 2014 Deductible Dollar Change % Change
Blue MedicareRx Value (PDP)

Arizona $150 $310 $160 107 %
Prescription Blue Option A (PDP)

Michigan $125 $195 $70 56%
Blue Rx Plus (PDP)

Pennsylvania, West Virginia $250 $310 $60 24%

Notable Decreases in Monthly Premiums

Plan Name States 2013 Premium 2014 Premium Dollar Change % Change
WellCare Classic (PDP)

Mississippi $36.60 $17.30 -$19.30 -53%
Aetna Medicare Rx Essentials (PDP) Oregon, Washington $72.90 $35.20 -$37.70 -52%
Express Scripts Medicare – Choice (PDP) Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota $102.70 $70.60 -$32.10 -31%

Notable Increases in Monthly Premiums

Plan Name States 2013 Premium 2014 Premium Dollar Change % Change
Aetna CVS/pharmacy Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)

Florida $32.50 $75.00 $42.50 131%
AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP)

Oregon, Washington $15 $29.50 $14.50 97%
First Health Part D Value Plus (PDP)

Colorado $32.30 $58.40 $26.10 81%

Once again, you need to shop around and do your research to get the best plan. Check out some reviews and ratings at – and rate your current plan to help others – then head over to the government’s site to compare plan formularies, and choose a plan that covers the medications you take.


Why You Should Change Your Medicare Drug Plan for 2014

Part D enrollment begins today and there are loads of drug plan changes you should be aware of. Our website can help you navigate them.

A new analysis from eHealth Inc. has found that 78% of Medicare beneficiaries did not compare prices on prescription drugs when shopping for Medicare Drug Plans during open enrollment for 2013. This is bad news for consumers, as not all Medicare Drug Plans are created equal! The average Medicare beneficiary could have saved $600 in 2013 by shopping smartly.

Not only do different drug plans set different deductibles and premiums, but they also cover different drugs. You need to find the plan with the lowest cost dependent on your needs.  A low deductible and premium doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t cover the drugs that you take. Odds are, according to eHealth, that you can save money by switching plans.

If you are happy with your current plan, you should still compare plans, as your plan may not be, well, current. Deductibles and premiums change. Your plan’s donut hole (coverage gap), preferred pharmacy, or formulary can change. It’s also possible that your plan will be merged with another plan or won’t even exist in 2014, in which case you may be transferred to another plan. The possibilities for change are endless!

Head over to to view 2014 plans, and find the plan that is best for you. Then head over to the government’s site,, which is the best place to actually enroll in your plan.


October 15th is just around the corner, which means that it’s time for open enrollment for Medicare Part D drug plans. If you are eligible and want to sign up for or change your plan, you have until December 7th to do so.

Comparing plans is no easy task.  First, you need to consider a plan’s drug coverage to make sure it covers the meds you take, and then its costs. Then there are monthly premiums and deductibles. And then there’s the stuff you can’t figure out based only on numbers: Is your plan accepted at your local pharmacy? Do you need to use a mail order pharmacy? How is the customer service?

Luckily, our sister site can help you evaluate those questions. It lets you compare deductibles, monthly premiums, and coverage during the “donut hole”. More importantly, you can look at drug plan reviews and ratings written by your peers, which can reveal more subtle problems with plans, such as poor wait times for customer service, unexpected formulary changes, or dissatisfaction with mail-order pharmacy options.

For some examples, read what consumers in Florida are saying in Florida about the AARP MedicareRx Enhanced plan:

2011: “Medication I need was suddenly pulled from the formulary and AARP won’t even consider it with doctor’s intervention. They care less about patient care and more about the bottom line.”

2012: “The co-pay is more than what I would pay with plain medicare.”

2013: “Takes too long to get prescriptions from mail order; too many additional authorizations from doctors who are too busy to deal with this extra paperwork.”

Please know that these are just a few examples of reviews and that some people may have benefited greatly from this plan. It could be no worse than most others and better than some, but the complaints are representative of those we’ve found written about many plans.

Once you’ve viewed ratings and reviews, and even written one yourself, head over to to make sure the plan covers your meds, compare final costs, and then sign up for the right plan. The average premium nationally is $53.80, and the maximum annual deductible is $310, down $15 from last year.

Research and choose your plan carefully. Whatever plan you go with will start January 1st, 2013 and last for a full year – so make it the right one for you! Visit today.

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Open enrollment for Medicare Part D (Drug Plans) began this week. If you are eligible for Medicare Part D, and want to sign up for a plan or change your current plan, you should be sure to find the plan that works best for you.

Be sure to check out to compare and contrast plans; and don’t worry – plan ratings are completely objective, as we are not affiliated with any plan. In fact, the ratings are provided by people who actually use the plans, based on criteria like deductible, monthly premium, drug coverage, and customer service. Perhaps even more helpful than the ratings are the written reviews where Medicare Part D enrollees explain their experiences with plans, often expressing frustration with formularies that change mid-year, problems at the pharmacy using the plans, or copay issues. If you want to recommend (or steer people away from) a plan, make sure to leave a rating and review.

Once you’ve chosen a plan based on ratings and reviews, head to the government’s site, to make sure the plan covers your medications, compare final costs and sign up for it. The average premium nationally is $53.55, which is down over a dollar than last year. The maximum drug deductible is $325, up $5 from last year

There are changes for enrollees who enter the coverage gap (“donut hole”) this year. While some plans do offer gap coverage for generics and brand name medication, most do not. However, once you enter the donut hole, you get a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs, though the drug’s whole value will go towards closing the gap.

As open enrollment begins, Medicare enrollees interested in a drug plan are urged to research carefully. Whatever plan you choose will go into effect starting January 1st, 2013 and last for one full year – so get it right! Visit now!


PhRMA Criticizes Obama’s New Budget For Requiring More Rebates on Prescription Drugs

“President Obama just released next year’s budget proposal and it has already sparked fierce criticism from the pharmaceutical industry. That’s because the plan would require Big Pharma to give an additional $156 billion in drug rebates over the next decade.” 
This news comes from’s latest blog post, entitled Big Pharma balks at President’s proposed budget. Not surprisingly, as articulated by its president, John Castellani, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is against the rebates and other reforms found in Obama’s budget. One point championed by Mr. Castellani as a reason to criticize President Obama is that the “Medicare Part D is working well for seniors.” While Part D has certainly helped many seniors afford needed medication, the RxRights post, and empirical data, show that millions of seniors still struggle to afford necessary, and sometimes life-saving, prescription drugs because of costs – despite Medicare Part D drugs plans. 
In fact, the failure of Medicare Part D is one reason that reputable international online pharmacies remain a lifeline for Medicare enrollees. It appears if Obama’s budget is approved, without changes to his prescription drug rebate requests, then more Americans will forgo the international option in favor of domestic pharmacies. 

American Medical News reported last week, “Pharmacists have called on the agency overseeing the Medicare program to allow patients to switch their prescription drug plans outside of the normal open enrollment season after beneficiaries say they were misled by insurers.” This would mean a second chance for patients who feel they were not given all the details of the plan they are now stuck with for a year.

A large proportion of ratings and reviews found on our site – – certainly demonstrate the frustration of Medicare enrollees who are not happy with their plans. We would support such a “second chance” to find a better plan. (more…)


Part D Open Enrollment Ends Today

Today is the last day for the Medicare Part D open enrollment period. For most Medicare enrollees, those who do not have a plan by midnight tonight will face a penalty charge, which will be added to future Part D monthly premium payments.

The Medicare drug plans have certainly frustrated many seniors, who’s experiences can be found in the ratings and reviews on Some of the most frequent problems with plans communicated by seniors are drugs being dropped by plan formularies mid-year; information on drug coverage was not initially made clear; co-pays were higher than expected; and customer service was often inadequate.

On the other hand, some seniors were completely satisfied with their plans. The bottom line is that you need to pick a plan now or you will pay more later.

Sharing her optimism for Medicare Part D benefits, and the discounts provided under the Affordable Healthcare Act, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius commented on’s official blog: “Through the end of October, 2.65 million people with Medicare have received discounts on brand name drugs in the donut hole. These discounts have saved seniors and people with disabilities a total of $1.5 billion on prescriptions – averaging about $569 per person.”

If you’ve yet to choose your plan, you can easily compare reviews on before making the final decision. If you want to share your experiences with others then please rate your plan.


Medicare Part D Drug Plans – Find the Best Plan For You

If you are eligible for Medicare Part D (Drug Plans), you should be aware that 1) open enrollment starts tomorrow, October 15th and 2) you can now research Medicare Part D plans on our site On the site you find out which plans are rated best (or worst) by people enrolled in them. You’ll also get the 2011 pricing information for every plan in each U.S. state and territory. The information is completely objective – we are not affiliated with any plan.

If you are already enrolled in a Part D plan, allows you to rate and review your current plan, so others can learn from you.

To actually sign up for a plan, we recommend using the government’s website, – at which you can best determine which plan covers all the prescription drugs you take. Comparing costs and features can be crucial to your health and your finances. Annual deductible, monthly premium and drug coverage (especially in the “doughnut hole”) are important to consider when choosing or changing your prescription plan.

This year the average premium nationally is $55, actual $1 lower than last year! The standard deductible, on the other hand, increased from $310 to $320. Less than ten plans offer coverage through the doughnut hole. However, under the new health care law, brand name drugs are now 50% off through this coverage gap period.

As open enrollment begins, Medicare enrollees interested in a drug plan are urged to research carefully. Whatever plan you choose will go into effect starting January 1st, 2011 and last for one full year – so get it right! Go to now.


An article published last week in Reuters suggests that Medicare Part D drug plans may be dropping premium prices – an effect of the healthcare reform law which could greatly benefit seniors if they shop around. Reevaluating your Medicare drug plan yearly during the open enrollment period is always a good idea, but this year plan selection could make a big difference.

Although we reported in August that plan premiums will not raise in 2012, Avalere Health, a health policy consulting firm, finds that while 10 of the top Part D plans will lower prices, six plans will raise premiums. However, the good news is that in the larger picture Avalere “projects that average premiums for both prescription drug and Advantage plans will fall 4 percent for 2012.” Because of the 2010 heath reform law, Dan Mendelson, Avalere Health’s CEO, is calling this a “year of change.” He tells Reuters, “It’s a year where patients really need to shop.” provides ratings and reviews – along with basic plan information such as deductibles and premiums– for consumers to access during their research period. Ratings and comments help Medicare enrollees understand the pros and cons of a plan, and user comments and forum posts give details on what other Americans experienced with their plans.

Open enrollment will be from October 15th – December 7th this year, a change from previous years meant to give Medicare enough time to process all changes and new enrollees, and for consumers to manage their health needs before the busy holiday season.


In Medicare “Doughnut Hole” 3.4 Million Stop Taking Their Medication

New research shows that the Medicare drug plan “doughnut hole” seriously endangers not only the pocketbook, but also the health of our nation’s seniors and other Medicare enrollees. Two separate studies released this month show that patients who reach the coverage gap are more likely to stop taking their medication than they are to switch to a cheaper drug: the Public Library of Science published Changes in Drug Utilization During a Gap in Insurance Coverage: An Examination of the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap, and the Kaiser Family Foundation Program on Medicare Policy published Understanding the Effects of the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap in 2008 and 2009.

The putative reason for the coverage gap is that the threshold will teach consumers to be aware of drug costs. Jennifer Polinski, ScD, MPH, the author of PLoS study says, “there is an expectation that people will seek less expensive drug options when they enter the donut hole.” However, these studies reveal that this is clearly not the case. Research from 2006 and 2007 shows that beneficiaries were 40% less likely to switch a drug if they did not receive financial assistance, as opposed to those beneficiaries who did. Likewise, the Kaiser study reveals that about 3.4 million, or 12%, of Part D enrollees who reached the gap in 2008 and 2009 discontinued their medication. (more…)

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