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Make prescription drug coverage choices easier to swallow

Medicare Advantage expert offers cost-saving medication tips

Wouldn’t it be great if sorting through your Medicare prescription drug coverage options was as easy as sorting pills into those Monday-through-Sunday containers so many of us can’t live without?

Something as important as getting the right medicine to meet your health and pocketbook needs is easier with some basic information and a few “insider” tips.

My goal? Make Medicare clearer so you can make the right health plan choice for you.

As you or someone you love looks at Medicare coverage for 2017, checking any Medicare Advantage plan’s formulary is key.

A formulary helps you find all the drugs covered by a plan. Many people start with the index to find the drugs they take—or may need to take—and then move on to determining what tier that drug is on.

Often the generic version of a brand-name drug lands on a lower tier, meaning it’s less expensive—sometimes even free—for you.

Still, that can trip people up, especially if they mistakenly think generic drugs don’t work as well as their brand-name counterparts. Get the facts so you can choose by asking your doctor:

  • Are generic drugs safe for me?
  • Do generic drugs work as well as brand-name versions for my needs?
  • How can I switch to a generic drug?

And keep the conversation going.

Ask your insurance agent, health plan representative or social service agency to help you understand the prescription drug coverage gap. explains it this way: After you and your drug plan spend a certain amount of money for covered drugs each year, you may have to pay more for them up to a certain limit.

For help sorting through your Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage options—whether you’re enrolling for the first time or carefully assessing your choices for 2017—please visit or

Jana Perry

Jana Perry, Health Alliance vice president of sales and retention, has worked with Medicare Advantage members for more than 20 years.