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.”
MedicareDrugPlans.com 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.
Tagged with: Avalere Health, deductibles, Drug Prices, Medicare, Medicare Drug Plans, Medicare Part D, medicaredrugplans.com, Open Enrollment, premiums, Reuters, save money
Earlier this month we reported on the UnitedHealthcare Pharmacy Saver plan for Medicare Part D. This plan offers enrollees many of their generic prescriptions for just $2 (some 30- and some 90-day supplies) at Kroger and Safeway chain stores. Our research found that although a few popular generics were not covered by the plan, there was a fairly low co-pay anyway, so cost-wise, UnitedHealthcare has presented a solid Medicare drug plan.
One of our concerns was that those individuals who do not live near a Kroger or Safeway chain will not have easy access to their prescriptions. Well, we have good news to pass on – last week, DrugStoreNews.com announced that Bloom, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Food Lion, Harveys, Publix Super Markets, Sweetbay Supermarket and Target chains have all joined as participating pharmacies.
This expansion is great, though we still encourage you to compare this plan with others on MedicareDrugPlans.com. It’s important to fit all plan variables to your needs. And remember, just ten more days until open enrollment closes!
Tagged with: chain stores, generics, Kroger, Medicare Drug Plans, medicaredrugplans.com, Open Enrollment, Part D, Pharmacy Saver, prescriptions, Publix, Safeway, Target, United Healthcare
Many seniors enrolling in a Medicare drug plan these last 15 days of the open enrollment period may turn to their local pharmacy, presumably a trusted source of medical support and information, for answers and advice. Often pharmacists know a patient’s medical and medicinal history so can give professional and educated advice on which plan could best serve the enrollee; however, this isn’t always the case.
An article in American Public Media suggests that the answers and advice some pharmacy’s give could be guided by the influence of insurance companies. Some drugstores have made deals with and will be rewarded by the drug plan company for steering enrollees toward purchasing their specific plan, whether or not the plan is best for the individual. This is not to say that all pharmacies and pharmacists have a conflict of interest when it comes to Medicare drug plans, but we’re confident that research is the best way you can find your best plan. Ask your doctors and loved ones, check out Medicare.gov and MedicareDrugPlans.com – but do so by December 31st!
Tagged with: American Public Media, Medicare Drug Plans, Medicare.gov, medicaredrugplans.com, Open Enrollment, pharmacies