Pharmacy costs & open enrollment: What to consider when picking a plan

It’s that time of year again – Open Enrolment Season!  Whether you’re over 65 and shopping for a Medicare plan, looking at your employer-sponsored plans, or shopping on the healthcare exchange, there are several things to carefully consider when evaluating which health plan will work best for you.  There are monthly premiums, the medical deductible, the prescription deductible, office co-pays, emergency room and urgent care co-pays, and hospital coverage to consider.  One of the mistakes I see people make the most frequently is under-estimating their deductible(s).  And this problem is only growing – many plans have out of pocket deductibles ranging from $3000-$6000, meaning many people will essentially be paying out of pocket for all services and prescriptions during the year.

If you’re over 65 and eligible for Medicare, you can easily determine the estimated total annual cost for both health plans and prescription benefit plans available to you. is an incredibly helpful tool that will let you see the plans available in your area and even enter the medications you use to determine which plans have the best coverage.  One of the best things about the website is that it’s unbiased.  It provides you with the names, websites, and phone numbers of all the plans you’re eligible for.  You can even sort the results based on cost.

If you’re interested in saving even more money, you may want to consider talking with your provider about switching from expensive brand-name medications to less expensive generic alternatives. Nowadays there are usually several generic medications available in each class of drugs.  If you’d like to schedule some time to chat about therapeutic alternatives we can help!  Visit us at and sign up to speak with me or one of our expert pharmacists.

Kristen Engelen, PharmD
Kristen Engelen, PharmD, is the chief pharmacy officer of RxLive and a certified consultant pharmacist; she has over a decade of experience in retail pharmacy settings. Kristen became an RxLive co-founder because of her passion for geriatric pharmacy, with a focus on the intersection of pharmacy and aging.