If you take numerous medications, such as medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, you could reach the coverage gap or “donut hole,” the point at which you and your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan together have spent $3,310 on medications, and will have to pay a larger share of the drug costs. That’s when it’s time to start to shop around for discounts. Many drugstores offer savings programs for people who pay for prescription medications out of pocket; in some cases, the pharmacy discount price is cheaper than the insurance co-pay. Some medications are older generic medications, which discount programs price at $4 for a month’s worth or $10 for a 90-day supply—and sometimes even less. Once you hit the donut hole, it’s often cheaper not to go through insurance and just find a good discount.
What could be confusing to a consumer with Medicare is that, CMS’ rules require a pharmacist to automatically use your drug Part D insurance unless you specifically say not to.
Bottom line: Most drugstores will let people with Medicare use their discount program, but you’ll have to ask.
*Photo Credit: Denver Health Medical Plan