prescription drug coverage
HEALTH INSURANCE experts rarely
agree on anything. One of the few exceptions is that people on Medicare should
review their prescription drug coverage
annually because most Medicare prescription drug plans change their formularies (the drugs they cover) every year.
According to eHealth’s ;;;; “Choice
and Impact Study,” Medicare bene;cia-ries could save more than ;;;; on prescription drug costs by reviewing their
coverage and switching to a plan with
the lowest out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare’s annual election period
(AEP) runs every year from October ;;
to December ;. If you didn’t sign up for a
Medicare plan when you ;rst became
eligible or would like to compare plans,
the AEP is your chance to enroll or make
changes to your existing coverage.
What changes can you make?
Here’s a quick rundown of the
changes you can make during the AEP.
These will go into e;ect on January ; of
the next year.
• Join a Medicare Part D prescription
• Change from one Medicare Part D
plan to another.
• Join a Medicare Advantage plan that
includes prescription drug coverage.
• Switch from one Medicare Advantage
plan to another.
If you want to take a look at the plans
available in your area or make changes to
your Medicare coverage, Costco Pharmacy
has partnered with eHealth.com to o;er a
Medicare plan comparison tool (available
on the website listed at the end of this article). The tool allows you to compare different plans available in your area, side by
side, based on overall plan ratings, premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket drug costs.
Costco Pharmacy offers preferred cost
sharing with select Medicare Prescription
Plans that offer reduced co-pays/costs
when you use a Costco pharmacy.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COSTCO PHARMACY, CLICK ON THE “PHARMACY” LINK
AT COSTCO.COM OR VISIT YOUR LOCAL COSTCO PHARMACIST.
Understanding your loved one’s
Medicare coverage during AEP
There may be a time when a relative
or friend needs your help ;nding the
right Medicare coverage. To get started,
;nd out what the bene;ciary’s care and
drug needs are and who has permission
to act on the bene;ciary’s behalf. As you
and the beneficiary work together to
manage his or her health care using
Medicare bene;ts, it is helpful to have
the following information about the
• Social Security number.
• Medicare number and type of
• Additional insurance plans and
policy numbers, including long-term
• Contact information for health
care professionals, including doctors,
specialists, nurses and pharmacists.
• Current list of prescription and
over-the-counter drugs and herbal rem-edies, along with the dosages.
• Current health conditions, treatments and symptoms.
• Medical history, including any
past health problems.
• Any allergies or food restrictions.
• Emergency contacts, close friends,
neighbors, clergy, housing manager.
• Where to ;nd ;nancial and legal
information, including the person’s living will and medical power of attorney.
If you have a Medicare question or
concern, a good resource is the State
Health Insurance Assistance Program,
also known in di;erent states as SHIP,
Senior Health Insurance Benefits
Assistance (SHIBA) or Serving the
Health Insurance Needs of Everyone
(SHINE). This program gives free health
insurance counseling and guidance to
people with Medicare and to caregivers
who have authorization to help someone
with Medicare questions.
If you have questions about the private insurance plans available to supplement Medicare coverage, browse
available plans online at Costco.com/
pharmacy/ medicare.html or call ;-;;;-
;;;-;;;; (TTY ;;;) to speak with an
eHealth Medicare licensed agent. There
are no obligations to enroll.