HHS Answers Your Prescription Drug Benefit Questions

You may want to consider a basic, low-cost plan that would offer you peace of mind against high drug costs that could come in the future. The plan choices depend on where you live. If you have questions about your options, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE or go online at www.medicare.gov.

Question from Robert: An HMO is available without a Medicare drug plan for $10/mo. I can add a Medicare drug plan for $4.10/mo. If I do this, I will be dropped from the HMO. An HMO that includes a drug plan cost $69. I see no savings here. Is this right?

Answer from HHS: Many of the Medicare managed-care plans offer a more extensive benefits package in return for a higher premium. The two plans you compare may have significant differences in the coverage they offer which would explain the difference in their premiums. You have to look at the details of the plans to identify the differences. A number of our Medicare managed-care plans are offering coverage for hospital and physician services, along with prescription drugs, at very reasonable costs, as compared to traditional fee-for-service Medicare. In fact, our studies indicate that individuals enrolled in the Medicare managed-care plans spend less than those in traditional Medicare. Our Website, www.medicare.gov, has a tool called the "Medicare Personal Plan Finder" that can help you see what plans are available to you, and the specifics of the packages they offer. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE if you have further questions.

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