January 1, 2010

Q: I just heard that my Medicare prescription drug plan will rise 30% next year. This is outrageous. I hardly use it an now I regret enrolling in the first place.

A: You are not alone. Medicare.gov reports that the average price will be $28.05 for 2008 for the 28 million Americans enrolled in its top ten prescription coverage plans. That represents a 21% increase overall from the prior year. Medicare prescription plans combine discount cards with insurance. That might not be the worst of it: the co-pays are also increasing by up to $25 per prescription for some of the plans.  (AARP is increasing co-pays by a more modest $9  per prescription but will also make some members pay an additional 20% of the cost of nonpreferred brand name drugs.

A less expensive alternative for a person with lower prescription costs is the free discount drug card DrugCardAmerica that is available from MedSave.com. This card is not insurance, but rather makes discount prices available to plan members. The average savings is about 20% of the cash price. But if you add this savings to the cost of most prescription drug plans, then this option looks more attractive to those with only occasional prescription drug costs.

The DrugCardAmerica Web site includes more details, a listing of pharmacies and secure online enrollment.

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