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Seniors with chronic diseases overpaying for medications

October 14, 2013
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Most Medicare enrollees with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder could be getting a better price on their medications, according to a study by eHealth Inc.

A review of data from several online beneficiary enrollment sites showed that a whopping 92 percent of enrollees could have lower out-of-pocket costs on their drugs if they switched to a different Medicare drug plan.  On average, beneficiaries would save $716 a year on prescriptions, but those taking medications for Alzheimer’s could save even more.

The eHealth study examined more than 46,000 unique user sessions on and during the Medicare enrollment period for 2013, held October–December 2012. This year’s results show little improvement since last year, when a similar study, published in Health Affairs, found that 95 percent of Medicare Part D enrollees had not chosen the most economical drug plan.

Seniors should review their drug plan choices every year, since Medicare changes its benefit tiers, formularies and drug coverage pricing annually. This year’s enrollment period is October 15–December 7, 2013.