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Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

In 2006, insurance coverage for prescription medications was made available for people with Medicare. Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans require payment of a premium, and some plans require an annual deductible to be met before the plan begins to pay for drugs. Copayments are then required, with generic medications normally featuring lower copays as compared to name brand medications.

Each Part D plan features a Formulary – a listing of all prescription medications that are covered by the plan. It is most important to verify that your current medications are included in the plan’s Formulary before applying for coverage. Here are more tips when evaluating Part D Prescription Drug plans:


  • Make a list of all of your prescription drugs to include: Name of Drug, Dosage and Frequency. This information is necessary when comparing Part D Prescription plans. 
  • The Medicare website (www.medicare.gov) has a section where you can enter your drug names and information, and the website will help you compare Medicare Part D Prescription plans – this is the best resource on the internet!
  • Review the formulary for your chosen Part D plan. If you do not see a specific name brand medication included, you may be required to purchase the medication on your own. Name brand medications can be very expensive, so be careful.
  • When making your list of medications don’t forget: creams, ointments, eye drops and nasal sprays that are prescribed by your physician.
  • Look at the different copayment “Tiers” featured by the plan. Remember that these copays are for a 30-day supply only, so you will need to multiply the copay by 12 in order to determine the annual out-of-pocket expense for a prescription.
  • You should also confirm your preferred pharmacy is contracted with any Part D plans of interest.
  • Compare retail costs at your pharmacy to the mail order price offered by the Part D plan. Many people find that mail order prices are less expensive, and some plans provide financial incentives to use their mail order services.
  • If you are taking a name brand medication and a generic equivalent is available, check with your physician to see if changing to the generic is advisable. If so, it can save you considerable money over the course of a year.
  • You may qualify for “Extra Help” (also called “low-income subsidy” or LIS). It is available to people who have limited income and resources to help pay for Medicare prescription drug coverage.

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