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The other yearly checkup: your Medicare drug plan.

Hunt Kearsley C, Upchurch G, Holmes GM, Weinberger M. The other yearly checkup: your Medicare drug plan. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA. 2012 Sep 1; 52(5):634-6.

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OBJECTIVES: To quantify seniors' potential savings for switching to a new prescription drug plan (PDP) for 2011 and to assess predictors of which seniors could save most by reviewing their PDPs annually. METHODS: This cross-sectional analysis included 404 Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older who selected PDPs at Senior PharmAssist (SPA), a pharmacist-led nonprofit in Durham, NC. RESULTS: Seniors had a mean potential savings of $348 for the year. The 62% of beneficiaries who could save by switching plans had a mean potential savings of $559. None of the factors examined predicted whether seniors would have potential savings. Among those with any potential savings, individuals taking more medications ( P = 0.003), people with no low-income subsidy ( P = 0.0002), and first-time consulters ( P = 0.03) had greater potential savings. CONCLUSION: Some seniors can realize substantial cost savings by changing PDPs annually. Pharmacists can help patients save money, reduce sources of nonadherence, and earn appreciation as professionals by alerting patients to these potential savings and referring them to help in selecting a plan.

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