Your Health ;
; Medicare Part D enrollment is under way.
; Many people don’t bother to compare plans.
; Shopping around can save you big money.
Medicare Drug Plans
Shop and Save
By Patricia Barry
If you have Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, the chances are very high that you’ve been paying a lot more for your medications than you needed to, maybe by several hundred ollars. That’s because so few enrollees bother
to compare the Part D drug plans available to them.
Comparing plans during open enrollment is the best
way to ensure that you don’t miss out on your best
deal for 2012, especially if you use a lot of medications.
But be warned: This year’s seven-week open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and ends at midnight on Dec.
7—a deadline three weeks earlier than in previous years.
If you enroll in a different drug plan during this time,
your coverage begins Jan. 1. If you stay in your current
plan, it automatically rolls over into 2012.
Why bother to compare plans?
Premiums usually contribute far less to determining
your out-of-pocket costs than the copayments for your
specific drugs. In fact, the main reason for comparing
Part D plans is because their copays vary so widely,
even for the same drug. An AARP Bulletin analysis of
2012 plans in three states shows how big those variations can be for three common brand-name drugs:
; Lipitor: In Florida, copays for the cholesterol-lower-ing drug Lipitor 20 mg range from $0 to $90 for a 30-day
supply. Of the 33 plans offered, nine plans charge copays