You may be overpaying for prescriptions, even if you have Part D coverage.
In 2018, Medicare provided health coverage for 60 million Americans. Forty-three million of those enrollees received drug coverage under a Medicare Part D plan — but still may have been overpaying for prescription medications.
How might you be overpaying for prescriptions, even with Medicare drug coverage?
First, your Part D plan may require you to pay a certain amount out of pocket before the plan starts paying for any prescriptions. In 2018, that standard amount was $405; that means you’d have to pay $405 out of pocket until your drug plan starts to pay.
Second, how you and your drug coverage plan split the cost of the drugs can depend on the drug itself. For many preferred generic drugs, cost-sharing arrangements under Medicare are pretty inexpensive — ranging from $1–3 on average (this can vary depending on the plan). That amount, however, can increase for higher-tier generic drugs, and get even larger for non-preferred drugs and brand name drugs.
For Medicare beneficiaries with fewer financial resources, those higher costs may be completely unaffordable, and they may forego filling their prescriptions altogether. Even for beneficiaries with more financial resources, the cost can really add up; many seniors take multiple medications on an ongoing basis.
High out-of-pocket drug costs can lead to poorer health.
When drugs become unaffordable, even for those with prescription drug coverage, people might not fill their prescriptions at all, or might take smaller dosages than prescribed (sometimes by cutting their pills in half) in order to make their supply last longer. When people don’t take their medications as prescribed by their doctor, they may increase their chances of poorer health outcomes (getting sicker) and hospitalization.
How can you save money on prescriptions, even if you have Medicare drug coverage?
- Ask your doctor about generic drugs. According to the FDA, generic medicines have the same active ingredients and work the same way as their brand-name counterparts. They also tend to be much cheaper.
- Bring your formulary to your next doctor’s visit. Review your formulary (the list of drugs that your prescription drug coverage plan covers) with your doctor to see if there are any opportunities to switch to an equivalent drug that is on your formulary. You’ll likely save money.
- Use Blink Health. Search for your prescription on the Blink Health website. If the Blink price is cheaper than what you pay under your Medicare drug plan, pay the Blink price instead. You can pick your prescriptions up at a local in-network pharmacy, or have them delivered to your home for free. Just note that your drug coverage plan will not count any purchases you make through Blink Health toward your plan’s annual drug spending.
Blink Health is already saving money for Medicare enrollees with drug coverage.
Using Blink can save you money even if you already have existing coverage, including Medicare. These Medicare Part D patients have used Blink to get cheaper prices on their prescriptions.
Compare your own out-of-pocket prescription costs to Blink prices today.
Any cost savings stated herein are based upon savings at Blink when compared to retail cash prices for drugs paid by those without prescription drug coverage. This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. Blink is not available in South Dakota. Blink Health Administration, LLC, 233 Spring Street, 8th Floor East, New York, NY 10013, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com