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What else should I consider as I make my decision?

What should you consider before making a decision?

Does Medicare Part D make sense for you? Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much do I spend each year on prescription drugs? Most Part D plans require you to pay an annual deductible up to the first $310 in 2011. In other words, you must pay for your first $310 worth of prescription drugs before coverage begins. You will also pay a monthly premium, and the cost depends on the plan you choose. So if your prescription drug costs are less than the combined total of the deductible and monthly premiums, you might not need Part D. But if your costs are higher, Part D might make sense.

  • Am I likely to need additional medications in the future? It’s hard to anticipate what future medications you might need, or how much they might cost. So if your annual costs are even close to the combined total of the deductible and the monthly premiums, Part D might be worthwhile for you.

  • What about discount drug programs? The Medicare-approved drug discount cards that have been available in the past have been discontinued. But other discount cards might still be available to you. Compare the savings you enjoy from those cards with the coverage Medicare Part D will provide.

  • What if I already have drug coverage? If you have a Medicare supplement plan that already provides drug coverage, you may choose to keep it. If you decide Part D offers more comprehensive coverage, however, you can opt for Part D and choose another Medicare supplement plan.

As you compare any prescription drug plans available to you, Medicare officials suggest you ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it cover my current prescription drugs? Drug plans can pay for different generic and brand-name drugs in different drug categories.

  • How much will it cost me? Learn the monthly premiums for the plans in your area and what your share of the cost of your prescriptions would be.

  • Which pharmacies do the drug plans in my area use, and are they convenient to me?

Selecting a drug plan that meets your needs may feel overwhelming. Be certain to ask questions and get answers from knowledgeable resources before signing up for any plan.

You can find answers to many questions by visiting the Medicare website, or by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). TTY users should call 877-486-2048. To speed up your service, have your Medicare number available when you call.

You can also download the "Medicare and You" handbook, the "Your Guide to Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage" booklet, or the booklet "Things to Think About When You Compare Medicare Drug Coverage."