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What drug plans cover

Each Medicare Prescription Drug Plan has its own list of covered drugs (called a formulary). Many Medicare drug plans place drugs into different "tiers" on their formularies. Drugs in each tier have a different cost.

A drug in a lower tier will generally cost you less than a drug in a higher tier. In some cases, if your drug is on a higher tier and your prescriber thinks you need that drug instead of a similar drug on a lower tier, you or your prescriber can ask your plan for an exception to get a lower copayment.

A Medicare drug plan can make some changes to its formulary during the year within guidelines set by Medicare. If the change involves a drug you’re currently taking, your plan must do one of these:

  • Provide written notice to you at least 60 days prior to the date the change becomes effective.
  • At the time you request a refill, provide written notice of the change and a 60-day supply of the drug under the same plan rules as before the change.

Starting in early 2016, in most cases, your prescribers need to be enrolled in Medicare or have an “opt-out” request on file with Medicare for your prescriptions to be covered by your Medicare drug plan. If your prescriber isn’t enrolled or has “opted-out,” you’ll still be able to get a 3-month provisional fill of your prescription. This will give your prescriber time to enroll, or you time to find a new prescriber who’s enrolled. Contact your plan or your prescribers for more information.

Find out which plans cover your drugs