PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Medicare Part D Enrollment 2017 Begins Today: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly to Save Money!

Pick a plan man!

Pick a plan man!

We have a sister website called MedicareDrugPlans.com, where you can find basic information about, well, Medicare drug plans, and read reviews of the plans written by people who have used them, and rate your own plan if you have one. We’ve updated our data to include the plans that will be available in 2017.

Why? It’s that time again to pick a Medicare Part D plan. Doors opened today, October 15, and will close on December 7. If you’re one of 57 million Americans, most of them over 65, who are enrolled in Medicare then you either have a plan or are newly eligible for one. There are many plans (although fewer than there once were) and picking one can be highly aggravating. While online pharmacies, drug prices, and personal drug importation are PharmacyChecker.com’s forte, each year since we started PharmacyCheckerBlog, I’ve tried to write something educational, practical, even funny, about the plans and how to pick one at enrollment time. This year I went nuts. Still, if you read through this post carefully, it will teach you about Part D Medicare drug plans: the good, the bad, and the ugly and give you resources to learn even more. First a very little history… (more…)

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Seniors Will Benefit From Obamacare but Continue to Rely on Safe Personal Drug Importation

PharmacyCheckerBlog has reported on the potential effects of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with respect to drug prices and access to medication. Our friends at RxRights.org provide an excellent discussion of this topic as it applies to seniors on Medicare Part D, and more specifically how personal drug importation will remain an important channel to medicine for those slipping through the cracks. Read their post here.

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CBO Study Shows Access to Lower Cost Medication a Critical Factor in Healthcare Spending

High prescription drug costs make Americans sicker and contribute to our national budget woes, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released at the end of last year. The report serves as a reminder to always take your prescribed medicines. We view this study as further evidence that access to affordable medication from reputable international online pharmacies improves the health of Americans and decreases healthcare spending.

To put it simply, as consumers’ out-of-pocket drug costs rise, they are less likely to take their medicine as prescribed, which leads to more medical services and increased healthcare spending. The CBO report tells us that the converse follows: when out-of-pocket prescription costs fall there is less need for medical services, and as a result less healthcare spending.

The CBO’s report is based on an analysis of relatively new studies that have tracked out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and overall healthcare spending in employer and government-based health insurance programs. The result is that CBO has now internalized out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in its methodology for calculating the effects of legislation affecting drug costs. This means if a new bill aims to bring down prescription drug prices in the United States or through drug importation, CBO would calculate how many more prescriptions would be filled and estimate the resulting decrease in healthcare spending.

It is critical that our elected leaders and government officials take this into account when considering new laws or taking actions that affect access to affordable medication .Just yesterday, Minnesota U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar re-introduced a bill, The Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, to enable the federal government to negotiate lower Medicare drug prices with drug manufacturers. Such legislation would most certainly lower drug costs, improve health, and decrease the taxpayer burden on healthcare spending

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PhRMA Criticizes Obama’s New Budget For Requiring More Rebates on Prescription Drugs

“President Obama just released next year’s budget proposal and it has already sparked fierce criticism from the pharmaceutical industry. That’s because the plan would require Big Pharma to give an additional $156 billion in drug rebates over the next decade.” 
 
This news comes from RxRight.org’s latest blog post, entitled Big Pharma balks at President’s proposed budget. Not surprisingly, as articulated by its president, John Castellani, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is against the rebates and other reforms found in Obama’s budget. One point championed by Mr. Castellani as a reason to criticize President Obama is that the “Medicare Part D is working well for seniors.” While Part D has certainly helped many seniors afford needed medication, the RxRights post, and empirical data, show that millions of seniors still struggle to afford necessary, and sometimes life-saving, prescription drugs because of costs – despite Medicare Part D drugs plans. 
 
In fact, the failure of Medicare Part D is one reason that reputable international online pharmacies remain a lifeline for Medicare enrollees. It appears if Obama’s budget is approved, without changes to his prescription drug rebate requests, then more Americans will forgo the international option in favor of domestic pharmacies. 
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Medicare Enrollees Should Be Given a Chance to Switch Part D Plans, Say U.S. Pharmacists

American Medical News reported last week, “Pharmacists have called on the agency overseeing the Medicare program to allow patients to switch their prescription drug plans outside of the normal open enrollment season after beneficiaries say they were misled by insurers.” This would mean a second chance for patients who feel they were not given all the details of the plan they are now stuck with for a year.

A large proportion of ratings and reviews found on our site – MedicareDrugPlans.com – certainly demonstrate the frustration of Medicare enrollees who are not happy with their plans. We would support such a “second chance” to find a better plan. (more…)

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