The Ultimate Medicare Part D Cheat Sheet: Choose Your Prescription Drug Plan in Less than 15 Minutes
Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.
Hey! We're so glad you found us. We have a new version of this article that includes a video tutorial and updated screenshots. You can go to the brand new version of this article here: Signing Up for a Medicare Part D Drug Plan Is Easy
If you’ve determined you want to hop on a prescription drug plan, this cheat sheet will help you choose the cheapest and most reliable carrier. If you’re not sure what a drug plan is or if you even want or need one, go here.
It’s also important to note that this is not a one-size-fits-all deal — just because your neighbor swears by his specific insurance carrier doesn’t mean that carrier is the best option for you.
So, before we begin, here’s what you’ll need:
- Your zip code
- A list of your prescriptions along with their dosages and frequency
- A computer with an internet connection
- 10-15 minutes of your time
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Go to Medicare.gov. On the homepage, you will see three green buttons. Click on the first one that says “Find health & drug plans.”
Under “General Search,” enter your zip code. For the sake of this guide, we will enter the Sams/Hockaday zip code. Click “Find Plans.”
This page will ask you to select your Medicare information. The easiest way to get past this page is to select “I don’t know” and “I don’t know.” Then, click “Continue to Plan Results.” If you know the answers to the 2 questions, you can answer them, but choosing “I don’t know” is a bit faster.
Under “Type the name of your drug,” start typing in the name of your prescription. The system will start offering suggestions. When you see yours, select it.
Choose the appropriate dosage, quantity, and frequency. You can ignore the Pharmacy type for now as the system will give you quotes for both retail pharmacies and mail order pharmacies. When you’re finished, click “Add drug and dosage.”
Note: If you enter in a brand name drug, Medicare’s system will ask you if you want to select the lower cost generic or the brand drug. Choosing the generic can dramatically lower your quotes, but be sure to select the appropriate option.
Repeat this for all of your prescriptions. When you’re finished, it can be useful to jot down your Drug List ID and Password Date. This will allow you to come back to this step in the future without having to re-enter all of your prescriptions again.
All done? Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “My Drug List is Complete.”
You are allowed to select up to two pharmacies. If you're not seeing the pharmacy you want, try increasing the number of miles from your zip code.
When you’ve chosen the pharmacies you want to compare, click “Continue to Plan Results.”
Check “Prescription Drug Plans (with Original Medicare).” Then, click “Continue to Plan Results.”
Don't panic – there are 23 different carriers, so you have 23 options. It may feel overwhelming to see so many choices, but you can rule out most of them based on their cost.
The plans are automatically sorted from lowest annual cost to highest annual cost, which is what you want.
The "lowest remainder of the year retail costs" is exactly what you'll pay at the pharmacy each year. It includes deductibles and co-pays.
Now, your goal is to choose the cheapest drug plan with the best overall star rating. Sometimes, low ratings can mean that the company has had bad customer service in the past. If you're willing to take that gamble for the cheapest price, go for it!
We generally recommend comparing the first two plans, since they're the cheapest. If one of them has a really bad overall star rating (1 or 2 stars), consider skipping over it and choosing the next one.
If you're having trouble deciding which plan has the best price with the best star rating, call us! We would be happy to help you weigh your options.
Once you choose your two plans, select them by clicking the red boxes, and click “Compare Plans.”
Now, you can see up-close what the costs of the plan are (like the deductible and the monthly premium).
BUT, what you're really interested in is how much you'll be paying out of your own pocket. You can see that exact number under "Estimate of What YOU Will Pay for Drug Plan Premium and Drug Costs."
Here, you can compare the costs at your 2 chosen pharmacies as well as a mail order option.
Now that you know which carrier has the most cost-effective option for you, it’s time to choose a plan. Simply click “Enroll” and the site will redirect you to the enrollment center.
There you have it! If you get stuck, need additional help, or want to get quotes for other supplemental policies, let us help you. It’s free to you and it’s the quickest cure for your Medicare headache.
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