Once you decide that you want prescription drug coverage, think about what matters most to you. There are a range of plan options available, so you can focus on the kind of coverage you prefer. There are two ways you can get your Medicare drug coverage.You can add drug coverage to the traditional Medicare plan through a “stand alone” prescription drug plan.

Or you can get drug coverage and the rest of your Medicare coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan, like an HMO or PPO, that typically provides more benefits at a significantly lower cost through a network of doctors and hospitals. No matter what type of plan you choose, you can choose a plan that reflects what you want in terms of cost, coverage and convenience.

  • Cost: What you pay for the coverage, including premiums, deductible, and payments for your drugs.
  • Coverage: What benefits are provided (like coverage in the “coverage gap” and other coverage enhancements), which drugs are covered and the rules (like prior authorization) for getting those drugs.
  • Convenience: Which pharmacies are part of the plan and whether the plan has a mail-order option.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has created an online resource, Landscape of Local Plans . This resource helps you find Medicare prescription drug plans by state or Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage by county. It lets you see the plans in your area that offer drug coverage, including basic information to help you find ones that meet your needs based on cost, coverage, and convenience.

This is the first week that you can see drug plan data. Some of the features of the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder are not yet available. These features will allow you to further personalize your search for a drug plan that meets your needs. These features will be available well before you can choose to enroll in a plan on November 15.

Right now, it is important to get ready to choose a plan by making a note of the drugs you take, the coverage features most important to you, and any specific pharmacies you prefer to use. The Landscape of Local Plans is a good resource for finding out about the plans in your area to get ready to make a choice.

Reference: http://www.medicare.gov/MedicareReform/drugbenefit.asp

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