Q: How hard is it to use the Plan Finder tool to compare the cost of drug plans?

Farm Bureau Health Plans Blog

Q: How hard is it to use the Plan Finder tool to compare the cost of drug plans?

Posted by Jan

A: You won’t find the drug plan comparison process difficult if you are comfortable using a laptop or a computer. Since the 2019 pricing information is now showing on www.medicare.gov, let’s do a quick run-through of that process.

From the www.medicare.gov home page, select “Find health & drug plans”.
Enter your zip code under the Basic Search heading on the next screen.  Click on the “Find plans” button.

Answer the three questions on the following page. Most of you will choose “Original Medicare”, “I don’t get any extra help” and “Yes”. Revise any of these answers as required and select “Continue to Plan Results”.

Start typing in the first few letters of one of your medications in the blank field. Select “Find my drug” to access the next screen where you’ll select “Add drug”.

Make the appropriate choice for dosage, quantity and frequency on the next screen. Select “Add drug and dosage”. Repeat until you have entered all your prescription medications, then select “My drug list is complete”.

Select your pharmacy and then “Continue to Plan Results”.

If you are shopping for a drug plan to go along with a Medicare Supplement plan, select “Prescription Drug Plans with Original Medicare”. Select “Medicare Health Plans with drug coverage” if you are shopping for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Once you click on “Continue to Plan Results”, you’ll be taken to a list of the top ten plans in terms of estimated annual cost. Don’t let the terminology confuse you – “estimated annual cost” is just another way of saying “total out-of-pocket costs for the year”.

We know the plan with the lowest estimated annual cost based on your medications is the plan at the top of the list. Although cost is very important, it’s not everything. Check out the quality ratings, drug restrictions and pharmacy networks before making your decision. You’ll be able to enroll in a drug plan from this screen once you’ve made your decision.

Enrollment requests submitted Oct. 15 - Dec. 7 will be effective Jan. 1, 2018. If you don’t choose a new plan, your 2018 plan will roll over to 2019.

Need help with your comparison? Call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 or the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 1-877-801-0044.

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