Drug Costs For Seniors Vary Widely Among Medicare Part D Plans

A HealthPocket report demonstrates a compelling reason to comparison shop for Medicare Part D plans. Costs vary widely among prescription drug plans across the United States. Choosing a well-known insurance brands is no guarantee of getting low drug costs, said Kev Coleman, head of Research & Data for HealthPocket. Consumers should consider premiums and cost sharing when evaluating their Medicare Part D options. They should also consider drug restrictions, which could greatly affect their satisfaction with a drug plan.

HealthPocket examined formularies for all 2014 Medicare Part D insurance plans sold in the United States. They estimated what a beneficiary would pay for premiums and prescriptions for each of the top 50 drugs sold in the U.S. and for each Medicare Part D plan. AARP’s MedicareRx Preferred plan in Arizona had the lowest costs while the Health Alliance Medicare Prescription PlanBasic in Illinois had the highest costs. In fact, it was 155% more expensive than the AARP plan. The Humana Enhanced plan had the lowest cost in 26 states and covered 48 of the top 50 drugs. The Aetna Medicare Rx Premier plan had the highest cost in 37 states and covered 41 of the top 50 drugs. Medicare requires Part D insurance policies to cover at least two drugs in most medication categories, but which drugs are covered within each category is left to the discretion of the insurance company. Moreover the same drug covered by two different Medicare Part D plans can charge different amounts, and these differences can significantly affect the economic value of the Part D plan for beneficiaries. For more information, visit HealthPocket.com.

Last Updated 11/25/2020

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