Medicare Part D – How To Compare Plans

Comparing Medicare Part D plans is very easy to do, thanks to the technology that exists now. In the past, you may have to compare plans by looking through the formularies of many different plan options, comparing the co-pays, premiums, deductibles, etc. – not to mention the individual reputations and customer service of the different companies. Now, comparing the total annual cost of a plan for you and your specific medications can easily be done online.

In order to perform/receive this comparison, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Go to www.Medicare.gov.
  2. Once on that website, click “Compare Drug and Health Plans” near the middle of the page.
  3. That will take you to the “Medicare Plan Finder”. On this page, enter your zip code and click “Find plans”.
  4. Answer the two questions on the next page and click “Continue to Plan Results”.
  5. This takes you to the page where you can enter your drugs. You do NOT have to do this; however, it is advantageous if you do. This whole process is designed to compare the plans based on coverage of your specific medications. So, enter your medications on this screen – make sure you select the dosage and select the appropriate generic name if you use a generic in lieu of a brand name drug. Once you are finished, select “My Drug List is Complete”.
  6. On the next page, select the pharmacy that you use. The ones that are in your zip code will show up by default. If you do not have a pharmacy that you regularly use or do not have a preference, you still have to select one for the purposes of this comparison. But it would not have a large impact, if any, on the results.
  7. On “Step 4 of 4: Refine your Results”, select the first option “Prescription Drug Plans” and click “Continue to Plan Results”.
  8. Now, scroll down to where you see “Prescription Drug Plans”. This is the results for the plans available in your area, ranked by their coverage of your specific medications. You can compare up to three plans side by side and sort the plans by various criteria. The “bottom line” number that you should consider is in the first column – “Estimated Annual Drug Costs”. The plans are typically ranked by that criteria by default. You can click on any specific plan to drill down deeper into the coverage and what the specific co-pays would be. Medicare also gives you the option of enrolling online on their website, as well as linking to the plan website and displaying the plan phone number, if you prefer to enroll one of those ways.

Although Medicare Part D is intimidating to many people and is very complex, comparing the Part D plans has gotten much easier over the last few years. You can do it all online, using information directly from Medicare (which comes from the plans themselves).

My agency (and maybe some others) do these Part D comparisons as a service for our Medicare Supplement clients. We essentially follow the steps above to execute a comparison based on your specific medication needs. If you want more information about Part D or Medigap plans, please contact us online or at 877.506.3378.

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