Five Questions Every Senior Must Ask Before Choosing A Medicare Drug Plan

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  1. Are My Drugs Covered?
    Every plan covers different drugs; make sure you immediately rule out the plans that do not cover all or most of your medications.

  2. Does My Drugstore Participate?
    Each plan is accepted by different pharmacies; make sure the plan you choose is accepted nearby.

  3. Will My Drugs Stay Covered?
    The drugs offered by each plan can be changed at any time, and some plans have already announced changes in their drug lists. Make sure you have the most up-to-date information on your plan’s drug list, and whether they are planning any changes. Enrollees are guaranteed just 60 days notice of the change, and may only switch plans once a year, even when medications are dropped.

  4. Should I Enroll Now?
    In order to avoid penalties seniors must enroll within six months. Anyone who signs up after May 15th, 2006 faces a penalty of 1% of the monthly premium for every month they delay enrollment. Therefore, even seniors with little or no current drug costs may consider signing up for a plan now to avoid paying a penalty in the future.

  5. What is the “Doughnut Hole” and How Will It Affect Me?
    Every plan has a coverage gap, dubbed the “doughnut hole.” Once a senior’s drug expenses reach $2,250 in a year, the senior is responsible for paying 100% of drug costs up to $3,600. After reaching $3,600, seniors will generally only be responsible for about 5% of additional drug costs that year.

Consumer Watchdog
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