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90% of Those Enrolled in US Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Could be Overpaying, According to eHealth Analysis.

M2 PHARMA-August 31, 2017-90% of Those Enrolled in US Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Could be Overpaying, According to eHealth Analysis

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- Only 10% of people enrolled in US Medicare prescription drug coverage were enrolled in the plan that covered their prescription drugs at the lowest possible price, according to the 2017 Medicare Choice and Impact report from US-based private online health insurance exchange operator eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH).

Medicare is the US single-payer health programme for senior citizens.

The report finds that people using eHealth's prescription drug coverage comparison tool during the 2017 Annual Election Period could have saved an average of USD 541 over the course of 2017.

These savings would have been achieved by eHealth customers who enrolled in the recommended Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan and whose prescription drug needs remained the same all year, according to the tool's results.

eHealth's prescription drug comparison tool estimates the out-of-pocket costs associated with prescription drug coverage under Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and Medicare Part D plans, taking into account an estimate of the full retail cost for each drug within various geographical areas and the coverage that each plan on eHealth's platform provides for each drug.

In using the tool, consumers enter their zip code, the names and dosages of their prescribed medications, and the name of their current Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.

The tool then displays the different plans eHealth can offer in their area and estimates the annual premiums and out-of-pocket costs for each plan for the coming year based on the data entered by the user, plan information provided by insurance companies, and estimates of the local full retail cost of the drugs entered.

According to the study, 87% of people shopping for MA-PD plans could have saved money by enrolling in a different plan, according to eHealth's analysis of the prescription drug comparison tool's results, which considers prescription drug regimens and plan options and other factors.

Only 13% of MA-PD enrollees who used eHealth's prescription drug coverage comparison tool during the study period were enrolled in the MA-PD plan providing optimal coverage for their prescription drugs, according to the data entered by the online users.

USD 807 per year (or USD 67 per month) was the average potential savings available to these consumers if they had enrolled in the optimal MA-PD plan for their personal prescription drug regimen, according to the prescription drug coverage comparison tool results.

Potential savings with stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs or Part D plans)

More than nine-in-ten (92%) could have potentially saved money by enrolling in a different PDP, according to eHealth's analysis of the prescription drug comparison tool's results, which considers prescription drug regimens and plan options and other factors.

Only 8% of PDP enrollees who used eHealth's prescription drug coverage comparison tool were currently enrolled in the PDP providing optimal coverage for their prescription drugs, according to the data entered by online users.

USD 486 per year (or USD 41 per month) was the average potential savings available to these consumers if they had enrolled in the optimal PDP for their personal prescription drug regimen, according to the prescription drug coverage comparison tool results.

Changes to prescribed medications aside, the amount a Medicare beneficiary pays out of pocket for his or her prescription drugs can change significantly because many Medicare prescription drug plans change the pricing, benefit tiers, and formularies of their drug plans from year to year.

This report analyzes more than 30,000 user sessions that occurred on eHealthMedicare.com and PlanPrescriber.com during the 2017 Annual Election Period, which took place between October 15 and December 7, 2016.

More than 23,100 user sessions occurred in which a person identified their current Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and one or more prescription drugs they were taking. In addition, over 6,900 user sessions occurred in which a person identified their current Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plan and one or more prescription drugs they were taking.

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Publication:M2 Pharma
Date:Aug 31, 2017
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