WOONSOCKET, R.I. — With the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D nearing, CVS Caremark Corp. has launched a campaign to help senior citizens hold the line on prescription drug costs.
CVS/pharmacy, in tandem with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), on Thursday began offering Medicare Part D educational events at senior centers nationwide. Aimed at helping seniors compare plans to identify the lowest-cost options, the events will be held throughout the enrollment period, which starts on November 15.
The drug store chain also is providing a free Medicare Part D Savings Calculator online at CVS.com/medicare, where seniors can access a list of frequently asked questions about Medicare prescription drug coverage . In addition, CVS said its pharmacists will be available in stores during the enrollment period to provide plan comparisons.
"Plan review can seem cumbersome, but completing a plan comparison each year is an essential step toward saving," Mitch Betses, vice president of retail pharmacy operations at CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "Tools like the Medicare Part D Calculator are designed to simplify the process to help older adults and their caregivers select a plan that provides them with the greatest value and peace of mind."
The company noted that seniors could save an average of $612 in annual drug costs just by switching to an optimal Medicare Part D plan, according to a CVS/pharmacy analysis of more than 10,000 older Americans using the Medicare Part D Savings Calculator last year.
"This data underscores the importance for older adults and their caregivers to review Medicare Part D plans each year," commented Wendy Zenker, vice president of the NCOA Benefits Access Group. "With the number of changes to Part D plans from year to year, Medicare beneficiaries can expect to see significant savings and receive better coverage, if they compare and shop around."
CVS and NCOA are recommending that seniors remember the "Three C’s" — cost, coverage and convenience — when evaluating plans. And to help seniors avoid the "doughnut hole" gap in coverage, if prescription costs reach $2,830, CVS and NCOA are urging seniors to review their current medications with their pharmacist and to consider switching to a generic or an over-the-counter alternative or consolidating pills as ways to trim costs.