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Medicare Part D: CR helps consumers save money

December 15, 2008

As Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Deadline Approaches,
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs
Helps Consumers Choose Plans, Save Money

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 31 is the last day of open enrollment season for the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. A recent report by the Government Accounting Office said that changes in Medicare drug plans were not effectively communicated to enrollees in 2007. The report also found that among beneficiaries who submitted applications after December 15 last year, 40 percent were not completely processed until after the effective date of their new coverage in 2008, creating major challenges for beneficiaries and pharmacies.
In light of the challenges that Medicare beneficiaries once again face in choosing a prescription drug plan for 2009, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, is offering important tips for choosing plans and saving money.
Consumer Reports has a free, public education project called Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs that identifies “Best Buy” drug options based on the scientific evidence and research – not drug industry advertising.
Medicare beneficiaries could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year by taking less expensive – primarily generic – medicines that have been shown to be as effective and safe as more expensive brand-name products. This strategy has the potential to keep millions of seniors every year out of the Part D coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.”
For Medicare recipients, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs found that those taking a combination of five commonly prescribed drugs — for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis pain, and diabetes — could save between $4,200 and just under $6,000 a year by switching some or all of their drugs to safe, effective and low-cost Best Buys.
Tips for choosing plans are available online here. A new report by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs that highlights the importance of carefully selecting a plan is available online here.