The deductible is an amount you might have to pay before your coverage begins in your drug plan. If the deductible is $300, you would pay the first $300 in prescriptions you purchase. After that, the insurance company would pay some portion of the cost.
Co-insurance, widely known as copays, is the amount you pay for the prescription drugs you purchase. Most drug plans will have a drug formulary that separates the drugs into different classes. Medicare describes these classifications as generic drugs, preferred brand drugs, nonpreferred drugs and high-cost drugs. Most drug plans use these tiers. The amount of your copay depends on the type of drug tier you have.
Bob Moos of the Dallas Morning News cites the Kaiser Family Foundation, saying that, "more than 3.4 million beneficiaries fell into the 'doughnut hole' in 2007 and saw their out-of-pocket prescription costs almost double, on average, during the rest of the year." In these cases, the policy will cover drugs up to a certain threshold. At that point, the coverage will stop until you have paid up to a certain amount on your own. Then, the policy kicks in again and pays with the original copays as before. The best drug insurance plans do not have such gaps.
Look for plans that will approve the types of prescription drugs you use. Most drug plans will pay something, but the best drug plans for you will pay at the highest rates for the drugs you need. Drug insurance plans have different policies on generics. Some will insist that you use generics, even if your doctor does not prefer them. Some insist that you try certain drugs first, even if your doctor prefers a different drug for the same condition.
It is more convenient to get your prescriptions in 90-day supplies, especially if you have been on the same medication for a long time. The best drug plans make this easy by offering the 90-day supply through a walk-in or mail-in pharmacy, rather than setting low limits on the amount of drugs you can get at one time.
Most drug insurance policies come with a list of approved pharmacies. The best drug plans tend to have longer lists, making it easier to find a pharmacy that you prefer to use and that is near your house or office.
The best health drug plans are those that meet your particular needs. Some drug plans are part of overall health plans, while others are standalone plans. Several factors can be considered to make your decision on drug policies. Costs, convenience and coverage are all keys to good drug plans.