CVS/pharmacy Helps Seniors Navigate Medicare Part D Plan Changes

Easy-to-use online tool offers plan comparison and review of overall cost Trained pharmacists available to help review plans

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- As Open Enrollment for Medicare Part D approaches, CVS/pharmacy offers resources to help seniors select the most appropriate and cost-effective Medicare prescription drug plan. CVS pharmacists have been trained on Medicare Part D plan changes, and are available to provide counsel to seniors based on their unique prescription history and predicted changes for 2008. An online Medicare Part D Plan Decision Tool is available at http://www.cvs.com to help seniors compare plans based on their current or anticipated drug regimen.

"With so many seniors having access to lower cost Medicare Part D plans in 2008, we encourage all seniors -- even those already enrolled in a plan -- to review their options," said Dave Purdy, R.Ph., Vice President, Pharmacy Operations for CVS/pharmacy.

On average, there will be 53 Medicare Part D plans offered in each state during 2008. While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a modest 3.1 percent average increase in monthly premiums for Medicare Part D plans, seniors who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan are highly encouraged to review their current plan for changes in potential out of pocket costs, like the deductible and coverage of current or anticipated prescription drugs. In recently released data, CMS predicts that 91 percent of current Medicare beneficiaries will have access to lower cost Medicare Part D plans in 2008, as compared to 83 percent of the Medicare beneficiaries in 2007.

"The lowest premium does not always mean the lowest annual cost, so it's important to look at the whole picture, including covered drugs and prescription co-pays," continued Purdy. "Seniors should confirm that their medication is in a preferred class of covered drugs in a potential plan to ensure the best possible co-pay. In addition, more plans are offering generic medication coverage during the coverage gap, which is an excellent way to save money." CVS pharmacists can provide guidance to seniors, and the CVS/pharmacy Medicare Part D Plan Decision Tool makes it easy to review all factors in choosing a plan.

The CVS Medicare Part D Plan Decision Tool guides seniors through the decision-making process step by step. After entering basic information like current prescription drug coverage, prescription medications, and their location from a pull-down menu seniors are guided through a series of options:

    -- Plans with the lowest cost despite medication limitations, or fewest
       medication limitations even if it means higher cost
    -- Plans with the lowest annual cost based on current prescriptions, or
       plans with gap coverage that may be more expensive
    -- Qualification for Extra Help from the Social Security Administration

Lastly, seniors are presented with a list of the top plans that best meet their needs, including information on estimated annual cost, monthly premium, deductible, limitations on medications and gap coverage. The plans can be compared by each criterion.