As you explore your Medicare coverage for next year, I thought it would be helpful to remind you of several of the savings options we see across our community. Knowledge can be powerful in helping you save money and helping our receivers get the medications they need when they need them.
INCOME BASED ASSISTANCE
If you meet certain income and resource limits, you may qualify for Extra Help from Medicare to pay the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage.
In 2016, you may qualify if you have up to $17,820 in yearly income ($24,030 for a married couple) and up to $13,640 in resources ($27,250 for a married couple).
In 2016, costs are no more than $2.95 for each generic/$7.40 for each brand-name covered drug. Other people pay only a portion of their Medicare drug plan premiums and deductibles based on their income level. LEARN MORE
MAIL ORDER 90 DAY SUPPLY
Most large health plans work with companies known as Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs), which manage the drug benefit for the health plan. Since these companies can buy medications in large quantities directly from the drug companies, they are able to offer you discounts on medications that you order through the mail. The largest in the country, Medco, Caremark and Express Scripts, provide mail-order drugs to more than 100 million people. Large drugstore chains, such as Walgreens and Wal-Mart, also offer services that allow you to order medications through the mail. LEARN MORE
If you are ordering a brand name prescription drug, your best option to save money is most likely a 90-day supply from your health plan’s mail order pharmacy.
For example, your copay for Diovan (valsartan), a medication used to treat high blood pressure, may be $25 for a 30-day supply at your local pharmacy and $50 for a 90-day supply from your health plan’s mail order pharmacy, a savings of $25. (A frequent price pattern, is you pay for 2 months and get the 3rd free.)
COMPARISON SHOP AND USE MORE THAN ONE PHARMACY
If you are taking a generic medication, such as simvastatin (brand name Zocor), which is used to treat high cholesterol, though, your health plan’s mail order pharmacy may charge $15 for a 90-day supply, while your local Wal-Mart pharmacy or supermarket pharmacy may charge only $10 for a 90-day supply. You can get your prescriptions from multiple locations. Comparison shop.
LOCAL PHARMACY WITH FREE DELIVERY
When two pharmacies offer a good price on your prescription, make sure to ask them if they deliver. Most Walmart, CVS and Kay Pharmacies along with your local independent pharmacies offer free delivery as a way to compete with the mail order companies. If you are driving your receiver to pick-up prescriptions regularly, make sure you ask about free delivery for them.
And finally, don't forget to ask about pre-packaged medication solutions. Many pharmacies are providing new packaging solutions to help seniors safely comply with their medication regiment.