Medicare recipients can save on prescriptions

Good news could be ahead for as many as half of the 37 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, as they’ve been paying too much.

That’s good news, because an opportunity exists to find cost savings that you may have missed.

Some 42 million Americans are over 65 and most of them are at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions as they age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of these older Americans are concerned about their health and their health care costs, a recent survey by a retailer found. More than a third of the Medicare Part D bene­ficiaries surveyed worry every day about their prescription drug costs, and one in five say they’ve had to make sacrifices, such as delaying filling a prescription or skipping doses, to help manage medication costs.

Few realize that copays for Part D prescriptions can vary by pharmacy.

And, some don’t know they can switch pharmacies at any time.

The good news is that Medicare Part D beneficiaries can save hundreds of dollars a year on prescription copay costs by using a preferred network pharmacy, if there’s one in their Part D plan.

Other findings include:

• The Medicare Part D beneficiaries surveyed take an average of eight prescriptions a week.

• Most seniors are trying to lower prescription costs. Seven in 10 have switched to generic medications and 44 percent are filling more 90-day prescriptions in an ef-fort to save.

• Only hospital/emergency room costs and caregiver/assisted living expenses are a greater concern for respondents than prescription drug costs.

Here are three easy steps for Medicare Part D beneficiaries looking to save on prescription drug costs:

• Fill your prescriptions at a preferred pharmacy to save on copays.

• Ask your pharmacist if generic substitutions are available.

• Talk to your pharmacists about 90-day fill options for maintenance medications if your plan offers lower copays.