How to Shop for Medicare Part D - Drug Card
This is very important to know and understand. We are going to make this easy for you.
October 15 to December 7th is the annual Medicare open enrollment period. If you are on original Medicare and have a supplement you can change your drug card (Part D) during this time. YOU NEED TO SHOP and CHANGE your drug card (Part D) every year! Why? You ask.
Because your medications and drugs may have changed since last year.
- Because your medications and drugs may have changed since last year.
- Because every year the Drug Companies and the Drug Card Providers renegotiate the cost of drugs.
- Because the drug companies and the Part D drug plans negotiate new prices for the next year.
- Because your medication or drug will cost differently on Drug Card 1 vs Drug Card 2 vs Drug Card 3 next year.
- Because if you do not shop and/or possibly change you are losing money.
Let me show you how simple it is to compare and shop
Start by going to the Federal Governments website www.medicare.gov and clicking on "Find 2022 Health & Drug Plans.
See image below:
On the Image Below: click "Log In or Create Account" OR "Continue without login in" my preference.
Look at the image below for the next step.
Here you select the plan your shopping for. We are only talking about people who are on Original Medicare, Parts A and B, and have a Medicare supplement. If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan STOP! This is not for you !!! Look at the image below. This is what you will see next.
Answer the questions as indicated with my Red Arrows, and click the next button.
The next screen shown below is important.
Do you want to see your drug cost? Absolutely. This is by far the most important step. You want to know what drug plan is going to be the lowest costing plan you next year.
You have to gather up all your medications. You are going to enter each medication into this website one by one. Only enter those medications you take regularly. You do not need to add that medicine you took only one time because of an infection. If you do not enter your medications and drugs, then you have no idea what plan is going to be the best one for you.
Why do you need to do this?
Remember at the beginning of this article I told you, Drug Card companies and Drug Plans negotiate every year prices. The drugs you take will change every single year between plans. If you stay on the same drug card (Part D) plan, it is almost certain you will be paying more than you need to. So let's shop them.
Click YES and then Next to move to the next image.
On the next page (see image below),
You are going to take your medicines and drugs and start typing the first 3-5 letters and watch as the website finds you medication. I am going to use Lisinopril a very common blood pressure medication as an example. When you type just the 1st 3 letters "LIS", the website has already found this drug for you.
See the image below.
With lisinopril filled in. When you click "Add Drug" it is going to give you the most common prescription amount for that drug.
See image below.
This show you the most common dosage of this drug. You can accept it or change the dose and quantity.
The more accurate you fill this in, the better the results are!
You do the above step for all your medications.
Look at the next image below
You keep adding drugs by clicking the "Add another drug" button, until you have your list complete. Once it is complete then click the "done adding drugs" button.
OK the next screen is a bit large, but I want you to see what comes next. Below you will pick your pharmacy that you use the most to buy your medications. If you go to the local neighborhood pharmacy most of the time, enter it. If you pick a big name store like Walmart, you will get very different results than if you pick your neighborhood store or if you say "Mail Order". Again, be accurate here and really limit your selection to just the one main place you buy from, not up to 5!
Click the lower right corner "Done" button after you have your pharmacy selected.
We are at the end! This is what you have been waiting for!
Here is the list with the lowest costing plan on top. Look at the image below. I have in red the important things.
Notice, there are 26 plans available in this example. I will talk more about the options in the image below in a second.
In the image above, Look at the following things:
- Star Rating
- Monthly premium
- Yearly drug & Premium Cost. !!! This is the BIG ONE.
Here is my suggestion. Look only at the top 2 maybe 3 plans. The very first one is usually your best choice. In the example above the biggest thing is the $170.16 total cost of drugs and insurance drug card. Compare that to the second plan below that would cost you $289.92. Why pay more? Well if the first plan was maybe a 2 star rated plan, you might want to pay more for a 4.5 star plan. But would you want to pay over $100 a year for it? Maybe or maybe not, you at least have the information to choose.
Sometimes you might see the 2nd or 3rd plan has a zero deductible. Maybe that makes a difference to you.
Personally I look at the the red asterisk I placed next to "Yearly Drug & Premium Cost". To me, this is the biggest deciding factor and I choose the lowest cost. If you entered all your medications and drugs, along with the 1 pharmacy you will use the most, this 1st plan is your best choice.
Was this helpful? We hope it made your Drug Plan selection easier. I really think this is important to do EVERY SINGLE YEAR! So mark your calender for October 15th every year and come back to this page for help.
Thank you for visiting our blog.
Written by Eddie Carter, Managing Partner
Carter's Insurance Agency
PublishedOctober 16, 2021