Your 5-Point Checklist for Choosing a Medicare Part D Plan

Published by: Medicare Made Clear

You may be sifting through endless mailings, emails and ads lately, each touting the benefits of this or that Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. It may be time to narrow your options and select a plan, but you may feel confused or overwhelmed.


Whether you’re looking at Part D plans for the first time during your Initial Enrollment Period or are looking to change plans during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, our 5-point checklist can help.


Look for the following five features as you review plan details and compare plans to help find a plan that offers cost-savings and convenience.



1. Low or $0 Copays


Some Medicare Part D plans offer $0 copays for certain drugs on their formularies (drug list). These drugs are usually in the lower tiers of a tiered formulary. For example, you may pay nothing out of pocket when filling prescriptions for generic drugs that are commonly in tier 1 or tier 2 of a tiered formulary.


Plan formularies may have higher tiers, too. Brand-name drugs typically cost more than generics and may be placed in tier 3, tier 4, tier 5 or higher. Drugs in higher tiers generally require higher copays, but it’s still a good idea to compare copays across plans to find the best option.



2. Medication Home Delivery


Trips to the pharmacy can be time consuming and may require advance planning. Medication home delivery (sometimes called mail order pharmacy) is a plan benefit that may end those trips, or at least cut down on them. This service ships your drug refills right to your door, and you can usually get a 90-day supply at a time. You could even pay less than you would pay at a retail pharmacy.



3. Drug Pricing Tool


Medicare Part D plans with a drug pricing tool let you search for drugs and prices online before filling prescriptions at the pharmacy. Pricing is based on your specific plan benefits and includes costs for home delivery, if offered, and pharmacy pickup. Some tools will also show you other drug options that may cost less as well as additional information that may be helpful before purchasing.



4. Prescription Refill Reminders


No matter how well you manage your prescriptions, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget to refill a drug you take regularly. Some Medicare Part D plans offer refill reminders that could help you avoid this.


Refill reminders may be sent by text message or email. You tell the plan how far in advance you want to be reminded, and the plan sends the reminders. With some plans, you can even set up reminders to help you remember to take your drugs at the right times.

Shop Prescription Drug Plans


Learn more about prescription drug coverage and shop Part D plans in your area.

5. Automatic Drug Refills


Medicare Part D plans with automatic refill programs let you sign up to have refills sent to you on an ongoing basis. This could be a great option for medications you take regularly. You won’t have to worry about ordering a refill, and you may never run out of your medication again!



Help Comparing Part D Plans


Reviewing Medicare Part D plan materials to make a wise selection can feel overwhelming. But it may go a lot smoother when you know what to look for. Decide what features are important to you, such as $0 copays, medication home delivery and others that provide cost-savings or convenience, and look for plans that may meet your needs. Then, when you’re ready, go here to get help comparing Part D plans.

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