You undoubtedly know that in most cases you have several Part D plans to choose from. Some plans may be available one year and not the next. AARP Medicare RX plans are readily available nationwide and are a very popular choice. Although the monthly premiums are competitive many people choose these plans because of the AARP formulary.
The formulary is the list of drugs which are covered by a Medicare Part D plan. What many people new to Medicare don’t realize is that drug formularies vary from plan to plan. One misconception is that there is a universal Medicare Part D formulary and the only difference between plans is the dollar amount of premiums and copays. This is not the case. Researching RX formularies is the smartest thing you can do when choosing between Medicare drug plans.
Understanding the differences between AARP Part D formularies
When designing AARP Medicare RX plans, United Health Care needed to have plan options available for people with different needs and budgets. AARP drug plans include:
- AARP Medicare RX Preferred
- AARP Medicare Rx Enhanced
Although these plans have different monthly premiums and copay amounts, the main difference is the formularies. Both plans include the most commonly prescribed medications for Medicare beneficiaries but the RX Enhanced plan has an expanded formulary to meet the needs of members who require less common medications and medications that typically treat chronic conditions.
The majority of people will find that the AARP Medicare RX Preferred Plan will meet their needs. They will benefit by having lower monthly premiums and will have access to the $2 copay with PharmcySaver program as well as access to the AARP Part D mail order program from Prescription Solutions.
Many people require less common medications or may need medications not included in a standard formulary. These people will benefit from the AARP Medicare RX Enhanced Plan. Even though the monthly premium is higher, the accrued savings of having medications available for a low copay will make this plan more affordable if less common drugs are required.
If you do not require an expanded formulary, don’t enroll in the RX Enhanced plan as it will be money that you really don’t need to spend.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the AARP formulary can vary from Start to State. Not only may the drug list be different but the premiums and copays can vary as well.
Changes to the AARP formulary
From time to time insurance companies that offer Part D programs can make changes to Medicare Part D formularies. AARP Medicare RX plans may have additions or remove certain medications from the drug list. If a formulary change is made that limits a member’s ability to fill prescriptions they will be notified ahead of time. A complete formulary for your State can be accessed at aarpmedicareplans.com.
Medicare formulary changes for 2012 may be the result of recent health care reform. Some medications are not approved by medicare to be included in any company’s Part D formulary. This has had a negative impact on many people’s expectations of the Medicare RX program.
It’s also important to note that medications that have recently been approved by the FDA like Pradaxa and others may not yet made their way into Medicare Part D formularies. This is not necessarily the fault of the insurance company but rather the slow pace of the Medicare bureaucracy.
If you choose to review AARP Medicare RX Plans keep in mind that the most important piece of information is the plan’s formulary. Review the AARP formulary online or request a printed formulary from your insurance agent. Ensure that all your medications are included before you enroll in an AARP Medicare RX Plan.