Rx Discount Programs VS Medicare Part D

Drug discounts programs are popular today. You may say, which one is better for someone on Medicare? Below, we will discuss which is better, Medicare Part D, Prescription Drug Discount Program or both.

Making a decision between Medicare Part D or a Prescription Drug Discount Program shouldn’t be one or the other. There is an opportunity to use both in order to save the most money. There are some things to consider when you decide which one to use.

Let’s start with Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D is real insurance with copays and catastrophic coverage to help keep you from medical bankruptcy. Prescription drug cost, based on the medication, can be very expensive. One example is Humira. This medication does a good job of treating rheumatoid arthritis but it cost around $60,000 a year. One can see how someone can go bankrupt trying to pay for this medication.

There’s also a late penalty if you don’t take out Medicare Part D coverage when you are first eligible and don’t have any other credible coverage, like an employer sponsored plan. Prescription drug discount plans like Good Rx do not qualify as credible coverage plans.

A Prescription Drug Discount Program is not insurance. It is a free program that offers multiple ways to save on your prescription drugs. Most programs allow you to add anyone in your household onto their program. Most programs cover “almost all FDA-approved drugs,” both brand-name and generic, and can even help decrease the cost for certain pet medications.

Having Medicare Part D and a prescription drug discount plan is a great way to make sure you are getting the best price for your medications. Even though you can’t combine Part D and a prescription discount drug program, let the pharmacists tell you which plan will give you the best price.

One important thing to keep in mind is, when you use your Medicare Part D drug plan, it counts towards what part of the plan you are currently in. If you have not met your prescription deductible, then the cost of that medication will be applied to your deductible. If you use a discount drug card to get a better price just remember it will not count towards any of your limits or your deductible.

When you look at the drug prices on a discount drug program, make sure you look up the correct drug name, quantity and dosage. That will determine the cost. You want to compare apples to apples. Also, when you look up a brand name sometimes the drug discount program will only bring up the generic. Make sure the drug you are looking for is displayed on the screen. If you show up to the pharmacy thinking it’s one price and it’s another, you are not going to be happy!

How to save money on drug cost?

#1 Ask for a Generic

Generic medications can be up to 85% cheaper than their brand name counterparts. Unless you have a medical reason for not taking generics, this should be your first choice. Generics are cheaper and there’s a better chance of keeping you from moving into your gap, also known as the “donut hole” by using generics.

#2 Take Your Medications to Your Doctor and See If Your Higher Tier Medications Can Be Substituted for a Lower Tier Medication.

Here’s an example. Why take a higher tier brand name blood pressure medication, if a doctor recommended substitute will do the same thing and cost you a lot less money. If the alternative medication can do the same thing and save you money, we have a win-win!

#3 Ask for Samples

Why do I say this? Pharmaceutical representatives meet with doctors all the time. They provide samples of their medications to distribute to patients. If they are able to provide you a sample, that will save you some money. If they provide you a sample and it doesn’t work, guess what, you are not out any money. Always ask for a sample.

#4 Look for a Manufacturers Discount Program

You often hear on a commercial, if you cannot afford the medication, they will provide assistance. Most of these programs are based on income so call them to see if you qualify. Also keep in mind, some of these manufacturer programs will disqualify you if you have Medicare Part D, but try anyway.

#5 Apply for Extra Help Paying for Your Part D Premium

To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. Extra Help is a program to help people with limited income and resources, pay Medicare prescription drug program costs, like premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and assistance in the coverage gap. Contact the Social Security Office to see if you qualify.

Need a refresher on Medicare or to download our Medicare Annual Election Period Checklist visit our website at https://hfcbenefits.com/service/medicare

As a bonus:

HFC Benefits has partnered with Clever Rx, a discount prescription drug program to help bring further discounts for our clients and the community. Click on the link below for additional information, to search our drug price lookup and download the app.