We get this question from folks who are signing up for Original Medicare with a Supplement or Medigap with a Part D prescription plan or assigning their Medicare benefits to a Medicare Advantage Plan. The answer is that on most prescription plans you can go just about anywhere you want to fill your prescriptions. The issue is this. “You might pay more expensive Co-Pays.” Providers of Medicare Advantage Plans which include your drug plan or Medicare Part D (drug plans) usually have what’s called “Preferred Network Providers.” This means the Drug Plan Company has contracted with a Drug Retail chain to give the best price on co-pays. It’s a possible benefit to the Retail Pharmacy and the Drug Company. The added benefit to the Pharmacy is that you might purchase other goods while visiting their location to fill prescriptions. The benefit to the Drug Company Plan provider is that with higher volume with that Retail chain, the Drug Provider can possibly offer larger discounts. You can go to other retail pharmacies, but these locations are termed simply “Network Providers,” most times the co-pays may, or will be higher.
So while searching for your Prescriptions plans on www.Medicare.Gov don’t forget to switch back and forth between the Retail Pharmacy’s to insure that you are receiving the best search results for your Part D (an independent Drug plan) or, if you are signing up for a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes a Prescription Drug plan, you’ll want to establish who that Advantage Carrier has as its Preferred Network Retail Pharmacy.
Still not sure? Why not let a professional Retirement Advisor assis you in your drug plan search. Brokers and Agents do not charge for their services. The insurance plan pays them, you don’t. Call our office anytime for assistance for searching out changes in your Health or Prescription Drug plans. You are eligible to change Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans once a year during the Annual Election Period (A.E.P.) or sometimes called the “Open Enrollment” from October 15th to December 7th with the new plan effective date of January 1st.
We’re always here to help!
(Previous published in the September 2015 Edition of the American Retirement Advisor Newsletter)