Part D Plan Preferred Pharmacies

Part D plan preferred pharmacies make using the Medicare.gov Plan Finder difficult and confusing. That’s because Medicare.gov only allows me to put in two pharmacies as I’m searching for drug plans for my clients.

I think I am a know-it-all when it comes to finding the most cost-efficient drug plan for my clients. But I learned today that I still have lots to learn.

I was helping a neighbor find a new Part D plan because her plan premium is going  up to $81 in 2018. She has a long list of drugs and I entered them into the Medicare.gov Plan Finder.

Part D plan preferred pharmacies make finding the right plan a shot in the dark.

Here’s what I mean by that:  I put my neighbor’s drugs into the Medicare.gov Plan Finder. It then asks you to pick two pharmacies – but you can only pick two. So I picked Walmart and Walgreens because they seem to be “preferred pharmacies” for many Part D plans.

First Health came up number one on the list of 23 plans available in Arizona. The Aetna Part D plan was way down on the list.

Then I changed the pharmacy to CVS and…. Aetna came up as #1.  And the Aetna plan would save my neighbor $500 per year over the First Health plan.  !!!!

Frankly, CVS is not a pharmacy I would  normally put in when I do a Part D search on Medicare.gov. That’s because CVS is notorious for having higher retail prices for prescriptions.  A higher retail price can mean a person goes into the donut hole/coverage game sooner.

In the past, I have asked my clients, “What pharmacy do you like to use?”. People get accustomed to using one pharmacy because they like the pharmacist. Some people like to use the pharmacy in the supermarket where they shop. The other day a client said she likes a particular CVS pharmacy because the pharmacist has a British accent and is cute.

My client is going to miss her cute British pharmacist – because the drug plan that works best for her prescriptions is Humana-Walmart and she must use a Walmart pharmacy.

I’ve written about how much I hate Part D. It is soooo darn confusing with more than 20 plans to choose from- and each plan covering drugs so differently.

By the way, my neighbor’s current Part D plan is going up to $81 in 2018. Had she picked the First Health plan, she would be paying a $56 monthly premium (plus co-pays for her drugs). The Aetna plan is $12.70 per month plus the deductible and drug co-pays.

I’ve written in the past about how more than 80% of seniors are in the wrong drug plan. Why, oh, why isn’t there just one drug plan that is offered through Medicare. Why did they turn this over to insurance companies? Why have they made it so costly and so confusing for seniors?

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