Local News

Coverage, Cost, Convenience Are Key In Choosing Medicare Prescription Plan

Posted November 14, 2005 8:45 a.m. EST

— Beginning Tuesday, Medicare recipients will be able sign up for the new prescription drug benefit, Medicare D.

Workers with the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program are helping recipients sort through the 38 different plans offered by 16 different insurance companies in North Carolina -- each with different costs and different coverage plans.

Experts say eligible Medicare recipients should focus on three things: coverage, cost and convenience.

Carla Obiol, a representative with SHIIP, recommends that recipients find a plan that covers the drugs they are currently taking.

"You may buy a plan where your drug is covered, but the co-payment may be different or higher than what another plan would cover that drug for," Obiol said.

Obiol also recommends that recipients choose a plan that can be used at a pharmacy of their choice.

Experts say it is important to realize Tuesday is jut the beginning of enrollment and that recipients have until May 15 to choose before penalties become effective.