Tips to Help You Find a Medicare Part C or D Plan
Trying to determine which Medicare drug or health plan best
meets your needs can be confusing. These tips can point you in
the right direction.
1. Go to the official Medicare website, www.medicare.gov.
5. A list of the drugs you entered will appear. You can add up to 25 prescription drugs to a drug list. Carefully review each one to make sure that the dosage listed next to the medication is the dosage that you are prescribed. If not, press on the change dose box and select the correct dose (e.g. many medications can either be 10 or 20 mg per tablet). Check the frequency (e.g. 30 or 60 pills monthly).
6. After listing all of your drugs press the My Drug List
is Complete button. At this point you may want to make
any changes to the automated Save Your Drug List feature on the
right side of the page. The system automatically saves your
entered drug list in case you need to make any changes to your
list in the future. Make sure you write down the “Drug List
ID” and the “Password Date” for future reference.
10. You should sort your results by the lowest estimated annual drug costs when doing a search during the annual election period. If doing a search at any other time of year you should check the drop down box for a feature that allows you to sort the plans by the lowest estimated cost for only the remaining months of the calendar year.
11. When reviewing each plan, be sure to check to see if the plan has any important utilization restrictions, such as prior authorization, quantity limits or step therapy (in which drug therapy for a medical condition always has to begin with the most cost-effective therapy, such as using generic drugs, and only includes more costly medications if deemed medically necessary). This data is found on the 4th column of the Plan Results page. It may be worth spending a few more dollars each month on a premium to avoid some of the restrictions; otherwise you may need to have your physician assist you with writing a letter to the plan to overcome any restrictions noted.
12. There are symbols on the Plan Results, Plan Details, and Plan Comparison pages to help you easily identify plans that have a 5-starrating (highest rating) or are low performing plans (lowest ratings 3 years in a row). Each plan will display an overall plan rating, but you can also select the "Star Ratings" button to see a summary of quality and performance ratings by type of plan (PDP, MAPD, and MA-only).
13. If you have any questions, call the drug plan using their toll-free phone number; call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227, TTY 711; or talk to a Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) counselor. VICAP is a counseling program to assist your understanding of Medicare. There is no cost for this service. Call the Virginia Department for the Aging toll-free at 1-800-552-3402, TTY 711, to find a local VICAP program.
14. When you have all of your questions answered and have found
the plan that best fits your current needs, enroll either
online or by phone. It is important to complete your
enrollment during the annual enrollment period (October 15 -
December 7). The new prescription benefit plan will be effective
on January 1. Individuals newly qualified for Medicare will be
asked to choose a prescription benefit plan when they first
become eligible for benefits during their Initial Enrollment
Source: Mari de
Leon, Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program:
Call for help understanding Medicare, Medigap, health plans and long term care insurance:
Virginia Insurance Counseling and
Assistance Program (VICAP)
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