WOONSOCKET, R.I. and WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 With the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D beginning on November 15, CVS/pharmacy and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are urging older adults and their caregivers to review their Medicare Part D options in order to find the lowest cost plan that meets their needs.
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Confusion around the number and variety of prescription drug plans often becomes a barrier to identifying and selecting the most cost effective plan. Free online tools like the CVS/pharmacy Medicare Part D Savings Calculator at www.cvs.com/medicare simplifies the comparison process, helping seniors more readily identify the plan with the lowest overall costs.
"Plan review can seem cumbersome, but completing a plan comparison each year is an essential step toward saving," said Mitch Betses, R.Ph, Vice President of Retail Pharmacy Operations at CVS Caremark. "Tools like the Medicare Part D Calculator are designed to simplify the process to help older adults and their caregivers select a plan that provides them with the greatest value and peace of mind."
A CVS/pharmacy analysis of more than 10,000 older Americans using the Medicare Part D Savings Calculator last year revealed plan participants could save an average of $612 in annual drug costs just by switching to their optimal Medicare Part D plan.(1)
"This data underscores the importance for older adults and their caregivers to review Medicare Part D plans each year," said Wendy Zenker, Vice President of the NCOA Benefits Access Group. "With the number of changes to Part D plans from year to year, Medicare beneficiaries can expect to see significant savings and receive better coverage, if they compare and shop around."
To that end, CVS/pharmacy today launches a campaign with the goal of helping millions of seniors and their caregivers realize savings on 2010 prescription costs through education and assistance in Medicare Part D plan comparison. Starting November 12, CVS/pharmacy and the NCOA are offering Medicare Part D educational events throughout the Annual Enrollment period at senior centers across the country.
Consumers can also go online at CVS.com/medicare to use the free Medicare Part D Savings Calculator. And, CVS pharmacists will be available throughout the enrollment period to provide plan comparisons in stores for those who would like assistance.(2)
Remembering the Three C's: Cost, Coverage and Convenience
CVS/pharmacy and NCOA recommend considering three factors when evaluating plans:
Before starting the plan selection process, older Americans should review their current medications with their pharmacist. Often, prescription costs can be lowered by switching to a generic alternative, consolidating pills or by switching to an over the counter alternative. Having these changes in place before selecting a plan can help in choosing the most affordable option and potentially avoiding the doughnut hole -- the gap in coverage if your prescription costs reach $2,830.
CVS/pharmacy is the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS). The Company operates more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at www.cvscaremark.com.
About the National Council on Aging
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans -- especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged -- and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, visit www.ncoa.org.
(1) Source: Experion analysis of over 10,000 users of the Calculator between November 1 and December 31, 2008. Compares 2009 rates for current 2008 Medicare Part D plan to the cost of optimal 2009 Medicare Part D plan.
(2) CVS/pharmacy does not endorse any particular Medicare Part D plan.
-- Cost - What is the plan deductible, monthly premium and prescription co-pay for the prescriptions you regularly take? Evaluate the total cost and not just the co-pays. And, identify in advance if you fall into the doughnut hole. -- Coverage - Are the prescription medications you regularly take covered in the plan? Are there restrictions such as prior authorization? Each year insurance plans change, including premiums, co-pays, and the list of covered drugs. Your own prescription needs change as well. -- Convenience - Can you fill the prescription at the pharmacy of your choice?