Here’s a checklist to start the New Year by avoiding overcharges and saving money the first time you fill prescriptions in 2012:
Is the pharmacy listed as a preferred network pharmacy for 2012? Before you visit your pharmacy to fill prescriptions in 2012 make sure it’s a “preferred” network pharmacy. If you purchase your prescriptions from a pharmacy that’s not in your drug plan’s preferred network, you may pay more, or even the full cost of your prescription. Insurers can change preferred pharmacies from year to year. To learn whether your pharmacy is a preferred network pharmacy, check with your drug plan before you go.
Does your drug plan still cover your prescriptions in 2012? Drug plans don’t normally include the full formulary of covered drugs in their annual booklets. Check the drug plan web site, or call customer service if you don’t see one or more of your prescriptions listed in the booklet for 2012. If your drug plan drops coverage of a medication you take, contact your doctor and find out if there’s an alternate that may be covered by your drug plan.
Have your brand prescriptions gone off patent and become available as generic? The patents are expiring on a number of the nation’s top selling brand drugs like the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, and the blood thinner Plavix. If your drug plan no longer covers your brand drug, it may cover the generic version, find out before you go.
Has your prescription drug moved to a higher formulary tier or is it still the same as it was in 2011? When drug plans bump covered drugs to higher formulary tiers, beneficiaries pay more in co-pays or co-insurance. If this happens to you, find out if there’s a similar drug to treat your condition that’s listed on a lower tier that you can try. Talk to your doctor and get a new prescription if it’s appropriate for you.
Does the drug plan have a new deductible starting in January? Drug plans can impose new deductibles, even if you didn’t pay one the year before. When there is a deductible, you pay the full cost of prescriptions until the deductible is met.
Do you have the 2012 drug card to present at the pharmacy? Make sure to present your 2012 drug card every time you fill a prescription and double check that it is returned.
Read more money-saving tips from some of TSCL's past articles.