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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75786  
Subject: Plan D at Year End -- Or Not? Date: 11/20/2010 2:10 PM
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I've posted about this before, and I know I'll get clobbered by some in here, but I want to suggest that anyone who is either (a) becoming eligible for the Medicare Plan D (Prescription Drug Plans) for the first time, or (b) already has a plan now and is considering changing it during the Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 period, look long and hard at whether or not they need any Plan D at all!

Are you over 65 and in reasonably good health? Do you now take any prescription medications? If so, are they generic? If so, you may want see if you need Plan D at all.

I started Plan D about 5 years ago. It seemed great that first year. It cost me about $13/month and, as it happened, that covered all of my generic drugs -- with no copay -- so it was a wash.

However, at the end of that year, the cost suddenly was about to DOUBLE plus copays on all my drugs! Not only that, I figured that the plans will most likely CHANGE EVERY YEAR, and I doubt many will go down!

No thanks.

I checked and found that our local drugstore chain offered ALL of my generic drugs for a nominal sum that was a lot less than that. After giving it some thought, I DROPPED Plan D and have never looked back. My wife never started hers, either, because she only needs some HCTZ daily, and that's cheap.

Since then, the drugstore chain went away, but I have changed to Hannaford's Pharmacy Dept. (in the grocery store chain) and now pay just $9.99 for each 90 days of each drug, with no copay. That comes to about $10 each x 4 drugs = $40 for 3 months, or about $13.33 per month for all of them combined! They also have no qualms about refilling the prescriptions with a simple phone call, with no requirement to limit what you may have left (like some insurance companies do).

I just got the usual flyers from AARP and some others, advertising their "wonderful" Plan D plans. These vary from state to state, by the way. Their BEST deal for 2011 here would cost EACH of us $32.90 per month, plus a copay of $7.00 for each of the LOWEST cost drugs. I still take 4 generic drugs, so that would cost me $32.90/month plus $7.00 for EACH drug. That comes to $32.90 + $28.00 per month or $60.90 per month!

Excuse me? $60.90 vs $13.33/month? That's pretty easy! I'll stick with Hannaford's, thanks. And there are others out there who also offer discounts for generics.

Yes, should we ever need high priced special prescriptions, we'll pay a lot more, but we would with the AARP plan, too! Their "Tier 2" medium copay is $45, and Tier 3 copay is $91.00! There is no "free lunch".

By the way, your Plan D plan may also charge a DEDUCTIBLE each year, too, so check that out and figure that into your overall costs!

Yes, there is a "penalty" if we ever choose to go back on a Plan D, but I will save a bundle in the meantime.

Bottom line:

Look at your own individual circumstances and act accordingly. Don't necessarily assume that you MUST jump into ANY Plan D for your drugs unless it makes sense for YOU. Ask your doctor for generics whenever possible, and then search in your area for possible deals like Hannaford's.

My two cents.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Vermonter
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