I was disheartened to read Mr. Gray’s letter concerning his Medicare Part D medication costs.
Part D plan sponsors are typically private companies monitored by Medicare. Unfortunately, these companies are permitted to raise drug prices during the plan year.
But steps can be taken to assure the best pricing.
First, if taking a brand-name medication, determine whether a generic substitution is feasible. Next, determine whether the plan identifies this retailer as a preferred pharmacy. Preferred pharmacies receive larger plan discounts and can offer better pricing.
Finally, when the Medicare Open Enrollment Period rolls around in October, compare the current plan’s 2020 costs with other plans — do not assume the current plan will be the best alternative. The ability of beneficiaries to annually change Part D plans helps keep the program competitive. Free assistance with Medicare plans and comparisons is available through the publicly funded State Health Insurance Assistance Program (www.shiptacenter.org).
Additionally, for those with limited income and resources, Social Security offers a drug subsidy program called “Extra Help” that further reduces prices.