Medicare recipients have until Dec. 7 to make changes to their prescription drug plans for 2013 or select a Medicare Advantage plan.
In Roanoke seniors and others who qualify for Medicare can select from 31 different plans offered by 16 different insurance companies.
“There are lots of options,” said Shannon Abell, director of senior services for the LOA Area Agency on Aging. “But you have to find something that works for you.”
Monthly premiums on the plans range from $15 to $113.10, with the average cost coming to $50.46, Abell said. That’s slightly below the average premium cost of about $52 for this year, he added.
But Abell warned that Medicare recipients should not only focus on monthly premiums. Seniors should also check on the copays for the drugs they regularly take, what kind of prior authorizations may be needed and if there are additional charges for using certain pharmacies, he said.
With a new year, the insurance companies often change the drugs that they cover either by dropping some entirely, or placing them in a tier where copays may be higher. Sometimes insurers change which drug is the preferred generic, so seniors should not think that just because they take a generic it will be inexpensive, he said.
“You’ve got to look and verify that they haven’t made major changes to the drugs you take,” he said. “While your plan might have worked perfectly this year and you loved that company this year, you many not love them next year.”