It's Time to Sign Up for Medicare Part D - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

It's Time to Sign Up for Medicare Part D

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YAKIMA, Wash. - Medicare's web site lists 57 different drug plans available in Yakima alone.  The sheer number adds to all of the confusion over Medicare Part D prescription coverage.  But the Medicare web site helps you weed through them.

Local pharmacist Lee Neal says the first thing you should do is come up with a list of medications you're taking.  "You need to know whether it's generic, or brand name, because the costs are different." he says.

Neal recommends having someone help you out, like a local insurance agent who seems to have your best interests in mind.   You can shop around by yourself by logging on to Medicare's web site.  Just plug in the names of all the drugs you're taking, and a list of plans that will work for you pop up.

There are three main things to consider: your deductible, whether you'll pay a co-pay or a percentage of the prescription cost, and whether gap coverage is available.

The "gap" means that after you've spent $2400 on prescriptions in a year, you'll pay the full price for every prescription after that, until you get to $3,850 out-of-pocket.   At $5,452, your prescription coverage will kick back in.

"Make sure you talk to the insurance company, because if you don't know what you're getting, you're likely to be disappointed." says Neal.