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Save on Medicare prescription drugs

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placeholder April 6, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Save on Medicare prescription drugs

There are some 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, with many joining the growing pool of Medicare enrollees trying to control their health care costs. And among their worries is how best to afford and manage what for some can be a not-so-simple prescription drug regimen.

When you consider that a recent survey showed more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries surveyed are concerned about prescription drug costs, and one in five say they've made sacrifices, such as delaying filling a prescription or skipping doses to help manage medication costs, the importance of seniors knowing how to manage prescription drug costs can be critical to managing their health.

Being able to make ends meet doesn't have to conflict with taking medications correctly and on schedule. What many seniors with Medicare may not know is that, depending on how their insurance plan is designed, something as simple as where their prescriptions are filled can have a significant impact on how much they pay. In fact, some are able to identify savings of hundreds of dollars in co-pays by filling their prescriptions at a pharmacy that's within their plan's preferred pharmacy network.

In addition, some seniors may think that with the Medicare open enrollment period over, the opportunity to save on prescription drug costs is over, too — but that's not the case. Medicare beneficiaries can switch pharmacies at any time to access lower-cost medications; they just have to know where to start.

The quickest and easiest way to explore cost savings is for seniors to ask their local pharmacist to provide prescription drug cost estimates based on their selected plan. Walgreens, for example, is in the network of hundreds of Medicare prescription drug plans and participates in the preferred networks of nine of the largest national Part D sponsors.

These networks are designed to offer ways to save on medications, and pharmacists can review potential cost-saving options for customers, which could include identifying a lower-cost generic medication option.

Pharmacists can also offer advice on medications and help identify any potential harmful drug interactions. Community pharmacists also provide a wide range of important, preventive health care services, including immunizations, health testing, and helping patients manage their prescription drug regimen — and are working more closely with physicians than ever before.


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