Relief for Rising Prescription Costs under Medicare Part D
By Lalit Dhadphale, CEO of HealthWarehouse.com (OTC: HEWA)
As open enrollment for Medicare Advantage kicks in to full gear, more seniors than ever will need to research, evaluate and decide on which plan and options are best for them. With drug prices continuing to rise, this could be a costly decision if not considered in a timely manner.
Seniors today need to be smart consumers to avoid sticker shock at the pharmacy counter. Like anything else you shop for in life, whether it’s clipping coupons or comparing prices at multiple stores for the best deal, shopping for prescriptions is no different.
An activity that was previously reserved for the uninsured, shopping prescription drugs prices has now become a necessity for the insured, especially those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Five of the top prescription drug plans will see double-digit premium increases next year. According to Avalere Health, an advisory company focused on healthcare business strategy and public policy, the average prescription premium for Medicare Advantage enrollees will be over $40 per month, starting in 2016, a first in the program’s history. More than 15 million people enrolled in the top 10 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans will experience average premium increases of 8 percent in 2016. The top 10 plans account for more than 80 percent of enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans.
So, before heading down to your local pharmacy or chain drugstore to pick up your medicine, here are five ways you can save on your prescription drugs.
- Check Your Prescription Coverage – Make sure your prescription is covered by checking your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan list of covered drugs which is called a formulary. To compare costs for all Medicare plans go to the Medicare Plan Finder.
- Change Your Mindset – Don’t always assume you’ll get the lowest price by using your insurance coverage.
- Go Generic – Ask your doctor if it is possible to switch your brand-name drugs to a generic alternative. Generics can cost 85 percent less than brand-name drugs, and many drugs continue to lose patents. Several pharmacies, including HealthWarehouse.com and Costco have a long list of generics available.
- Pay Cash – Sometimes the cash price for generic drugs is less than your insurance co-pay. It can also cost much less if your insurance plan requires you to pay a high-deductible before their coverage kicks in.
- Shop Around – There are great price comparison sites for prescriptions like GoodRX.com and others. They are easy to use and often can show you the best price on brand-name and generic drugs in a matter of seconds.
Lalit Dhadphale co-founded HealthWarehouse.com (OTC: HEWA), the only VIPPS-accredited online pharmacy licensed in all 50 states, in August 2007 and launched the company’s prescription drug business in 2008. He has been President and CEO of the company since its inception and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2009.