Using your drug plan for the first time

What do I bring to the pharmacy?

  • Your red, white, and blue Medicare card [JPG]
  • A photo ID (like a state driver’s license or passport)
  • Your plan membership card

If you have both Medicare and 

 or qualify for 

, also bring proof of your enrollment in Medicaid or proof that you qualify for Extra Help

Using network pharmacies

Medicare drug plans have contracts with pharmacies that are part of the plan’s "network." If you go to a pharmacy that isn’t in your plan’s network, your plan might cover your drugs. Along with retail pharmacies, your plan’s network might include preferred pharmacies, a mail-order program, or an option for retail pharmacies to supply a 2- or 3-month supply.

  • Preferred pharmacies. If your plan has preferred pharmacies, you may save money by using them. Your prescription drug costs (like a or ) may be less at a preferred pharmacy because it has agreed with your plan to charge less.
  • Mail-order programs. Some plans may offer a mail-order program that allows you to get up to a 3-month supply of your covered prescription drugs sent directly to your home. This may be a cost-effective and convenient way to fill prescriptions you take regularly.
  • 2- or 3-month retail pharmacy programs. Some retail pharmacies may also offer a 2- or 3-month supply of covered prescription drugs.

Automatic refill mail-order service for prescription drugs 

Some people with Medicare get their prescription drugs by using an “automatic refill” service that automatically delivers prescription drugs when you’re about to run out. In the past, some prescription drug plans weren’t making sure that some customers still wanted or needed a prescription drug and this created waste and unnecessary additional costs for people with Medicare and 

.

Now, plans have to get your approval to deliver a prescription (new or refill) unless you ask for the refill or request the new prescription. Some plans may ask you for your approval every year so that they can send you all new prescriptions without asking you before each delivery. Other plans may ask you before each delivery.

This policy won’t affect refill reminder programs where you go in person to pick up the prescription, and it won’t apply to long-term care pharmacies that give out and deliver prescription drugs. Giving your approval may be a change for you if you've always used mail-order in the past and haven't had the opportunity to confirm that you still need refills.

Note

Be sure to give your pharmacy the best way to reach you, so you don't miss the refill confirmation call or other communication.

Contact your plan if you get any unwanted prescription drugs through an automated delivery program.

You may be eligible for a refund for the amount you were charged. If you aren’t able to resolve the issue with the plan or wish to file a complaint, 

call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

 

Learn how to sign up online for automatic refills with some pharmacies or get your prescription history.