What to Look for When Signing up For Medicare Part D

December 2, 2006 -- Posted at 2:52 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Over the past year confusion about Medicare Part D caused a problem for many seniors and pharmacists.

"There were 4,000 plans out there and that many insurance cards to go along with it.   It just slowed down the system.  Everybody that came in had a new card and wanted to use it, so they could get their medication at a reduced rate," said pharmacist Ken Gibson.

But now is the time to fix what didn't work.

"Make sure your most expensive drugs are covered under your Medicare Part D plan.  You can go to the website and make sure your most expensive drugs are covered," said Gibson.

Most generics are covered by just about any plan but check first to make sure.

One problem that many seniors ran in to in the past year is a doughnut hole in the plan.  The doughnut hole is between $2000 and $5000 and seniors during that time have to pay for their prescriptions on their own.

"Once they hit the doughnut hole where they had to pay 100% of their medications they were agitated, upset, and confused," said Gibson.

So often this year, seniors didn't understand the gap in coverage and were shocked by their pharmacy bill.

"We can call up the Medicare Part D company that you are on and determine how close you are to the doughnut hole or how close you are to getting out of the doughnut hole," said Gibson.

If you have a prescription that will run you into the doughnut hole early, pharmacists recommend finding the one plan that will pay for that drug through the doughnut hole.  It may cost more each month, but will be worth it in the end.

Sign up for Medicare Part D started on November 15th and runs through December 31st.