How to Compare Medicare Part D Drug Plan Costs
October 15 through December 7 is the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) – this is when you can compare Medicare Part D drug plan costs and potentially switch to a cheaper drug plan.
If you’re enrolling into Medicare for the first time, you can choose your Part D drug plan during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Why Should I Switch Part D Drug Plans?
If you are into your 2nd year (or more) of having a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, it’s important to re-evaluate your plan.
Throughout the year, insurance carriers are allowed to change the prices of their drugs. These carriers can move Tier 1 drugs (the cheapest tier) to Tier 2 or Tier 3 (more expensive tiers). This can explain why the cost at the pharmacy went up during the year.
If this has happened, you should compare other drug plans to see if you can continue receiving the same prescriptions for a cheaper price.
Another important factor is the costs of the drug plan itself.
Insurance carriers can change the:
- Monthly premium
It’s important to price shop every year to see if another insurance carrier has become cheaper than your current plan.
Finally, if you have been prescribed a new prescription, you might find that another insurance carrier offers a cheaper price than your current one.
Even if you end up keeping your current drug plan, it never hurts to price shop.
How Do I Compare Part D Drug Plan Costs?
You can compare your Medicare Part D drug plan costs on Medicare’s website: Medicare.gov. On the homepage, click on the green button that says “Find health & drug plans.”
From here, you can enter your personal information, which includes your zip code and your prescription information.
This will lead you to selecting your pharmacy of choice and comparing the 23 possible drug plans.
We have put together a cheat sheet, which includes screenshots and specific instructions of every step. You can download the Medicare Part D Cheat Sheet below.
Which Plan Should I Choose?
The goal is to choose the Part D prescription drug plan that:
- Is the cheapest plan
- Has the highest star rating
Sometimes, a low rating can mean that a company has bad customer service or their rates go up unexpectedly in the middle of the year.
A company with a 4 or 5 star rating often means that their customer service is reliable, and the rates tend to stay the same. There are always exceptions to this rule, but this is the general rule of thumb.
So, it’s somewhat of a balancing act, but try to choose the plan that has the cheapest annual cost with the highest overall star rating.
Remember to compare the Estimated Annual Drug Costs – not just the monthly premium. Sometimes, a plan is cheaper overall, but the monthly premium might be higher. The annual cost will factor in the premium, deductible, copayments, and coinsurance, which is what really matters.
If you’re not sure which plan to choose, an agent can help. Please don’t hesitate to call us here at Medicare Allies – we’re happy to compare drug plans for you and narrow down your choices.
In the meantime, grab the Medicare Part D Cheat Sheet, and start comparing drug costs!
Our team of dedicated, licensed agents can help you as little or as much as you need. Whether it’s answering a few questions about Medicare or creating a comprehensive Medicare Planner with you, we are your Medicare Allies.