Walgreens pharmacists are helping seniors compare prescription drug plans this year during the Medicare open enrollment period.
The drugstore chain is providing free drug-plan comparison reports estimating each plan's monthly premiums, brand and generic drug copayments and drugs covered through the coverage gap known as the doughnut hole. Pharmacists will review the report to help Medicare beneficiaries understand their coverage options and other information about Medicare, the company said. The reviews will be available on a walk-in basis or by scheduling an appointment on the Walgreens website.
The Medicare open enrollment season, which began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, gives Medicare beneficiaries a chance to review coverage and make any health or drug plan changes for the following year.
This year's Medicare election period overlaps with open enrollment for the new government-run health insurance marketplaces, which sell health plans for people under age 65 who are uninsured. The marketplaces do not sell Medicare health or drug plans.
"The Medicare environment can be challenging to navigate, and we anticipate an even greater need to help educate our customers this year, given the changes that are taking place across the health care landscape," Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy operations, said in a press statement.
For many Medicare beneficiaries saving money is a top concern this year. In a survey conducted for Walgreens in April, 37 percent said they were concerned about prescription drug costs, and 1 in 5 said they had made sacrifices, such as delaying filling a prescription or skipping medication doses to save money.
Walgreens is part of Medicare's preferred pharmacy networks with four national Medicare drug plan sponsors -- Coventry Health Care, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare.