Medicare prescription plans need thorough scrutiny
October 10, 2005
New prescription drug plans for those qualified for Medicare will begin Jan. 1, 2006, but there is no automatic enrollment.

According to Annette FitzGerald, family financial education specialist, University of Missouri Extension, eligible persons must enroll between Nov. 15, 2005 and May 15, 2006.

“If you want to participate in Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must enroll in a plan and pay a monthly premium. Late enrollees will pay higher premiums,” said FitzGerald.

When determining whether or not to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan, FitzGerald says it is important to consider the cost and benefits of each plan and determine your personal prescription drug needs.

“Premiums will vary depending on the particular drug plan you choose,” said FitzGerald.

To help you choose a plan that meets your needs, contact Medicare on the web or call 1-800-633-4227.

“Be sure to calculate the cost of each plan including the co-payment and deductible. Like other insurance you will pay a monthly premium ($32.20 average) and a yearly deductible of $250,” said FitzGerald.

In addition, eligible participants will pay 25 percent co-insurance in out of pocket drug cost over $2,250 and 5 percent on costs over $3,600.

Before enrolling in a prescription drug plan, FitzGerald recommends reviewing your current health insurance coverage and out-of-pocket drug cost.

“Be sure you choose the plan that meets your prescription drug needs,” said FitzGerald.

Editor's Note: An An AARP website contains articles of interest: "Brand-Name Drug Prices Reach Five-Year High", "Drug Companies Spending Million(sic) on Advertising: Who's Picking Up the Tab?," and "AARP Backs Prescription Drug Import Legislation."

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