(BPT) - If you're turning 65 in 2017 or 2018, you're one of 10,000 people who become Medicare-eligible each day. Choosing Medicare prescription drug coverage can be confusing, especially for the first time. You may have questions about which plan fits your healthcare needs and budget or how to enroll. The good news is, it doesn't have to be overwhelming if you know these four rules.
Rule #1: Lower premium plans may mean higher costs. Plans with a lower premium may end up costing more in the long run if they have higher drug copays, which can really add up.
Rule #2: Not every plan covers every drug. Drug lists (formularies) can change every year and so can the drugs you take. Be sure to check your plan's formulary each year to make sure any medications you take are covered.
Rule #3: Check that there are pharmacies close to you. That way, it's easier to fill your prescriptions. Select a plan with a wide range of 'preferred' pharmacies, which typically offer lower co-pays than standard pharmacies in the network. Also, see if using a home delivery pharmacy or a 90-day supply could lower your costs even more.
Rule #4: Look for 24/7 access to pharmacists and Medicare experts who can answer questions about your medicines and offer drug safety tips, money-saving alternatives and expertise in drugs to treat specific conditions.
Also, remember to check the Medicare Part D plan's Star Rating. This is the overall quality and performance rating (out of 5 stars) based on member satisfaction surveys and other measures by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
For more information, please visit www.Medicare.gov or www.RoadmapForMedicare.com. To talk to an Express Scripts Medicare adviser, call 1.866.544.3794, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week (TTY users: 1.800.716.3231).