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Pre 2010 Medicare.gov Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan Finder Tutorial

***Archive: Below is the Pre-2010 Medicare.gov Tutorial***

Looking for a guide to using the Medicare.gov Medicare Part D prescription drug finder tool?

We have put together a short summary that may help you find your way through the Medicare.gov Medicare Part D selection tool. Below, you will find an overview of each page that leads you through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rather complex web tool. If you have questions, please let us know - our contact form is located under the Help Desk.

Please note that "Jump to" links to each tutorial page are provided under each graphic.

Quick Links to the various sections of this page

Medicare.gov Tutorial - The Medicare.gov Homepage

Starting at the Beginning: The Medicare.gov Home page

You will find that the Medicare.gov home or start page provides you with more than one place to start with the Medicare Part D plan finder.
You can select either the Medicare.gov menu item entitled: "Medicare Prescription Drug Plans - 2008 Plan Data" or you can begin with the link further down the home page entitled" Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans".

It is difficult to make a mistake with the Medicare.gov site

If you find that you wish to see Medicare Advantage (MA) plans along with the Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, the Medicare.gov gives you a few opportunities as you work through their system. Remember not to get the two plans confused. Medicare Part D plans only provide prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans provide Medicare Part A (Hospitalization) and Medicare B (Physician Services) - and may also include a prescription drug benefit. Bottom Line: Do not rush through the website.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Find and Compare Plans

Find and Compare Plans

There are four options from this screen:
  • Find & Compare Plans,
  • View Your Current Plan
  • View Plans (without entering medication data
  • Share Your Story

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Select a Search Option

Select a Search Option

On this screen we discuss the difference between "Begin Personalized Search" and "Begin General Search."

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Enter Requested Information before Searching

Requested Information by Medicare before Searching

Here we discuss the various questions asked by Medicare prior to starting a search and the affect that your answers can have on your search.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Review Current Coverage and Consider Options - Information Summary

Review Current Coverage and Consider Options - Information Summary

This page show the outcome of Medicare's current plan summary, which was based on your input to their questions in the prior section.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Decide if you Want to Get Drug Costs for Your Plans

Decide if you Want to Get Drug Costs for Your Plans

This page shows how to start a new plan comparison and how one returns to a previous saved plan comparison.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Find and Enter Your Drug Information

Find and Enter Your Drug Information

This is where the fun starts! How to find your medications and put them in your drug list!

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Review Yor Drug Dosages and Quantities

Review Yor Drug Dosages and Quantities

This page discusses how the dosage and quantity feature works. It is quite flexible and your entries will determine the accuracy of your plan comparison. Tips are given.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Save Your Drug List (Optional)

Save Your Drug List (Optional)

How exactly does one go about saving a drug list for future use? Its easy.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Select Preferred Pharmacy or Pharmacies

Select Preferred Pharmacy or Pharmacies

Shows how to make your plan comparison dependent on only those pharmacies that you prefer.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Your Personalized Plan List (Plan Overview)

Your Personalized Plan List (Plan Overview)

We are finally there! The plan comparison summary. This page shows the projected annual costs for each plan and it also details your drug list so that you can make changes if necessary.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Compare Plans in Your List (Plan Details)

Compare Plans in Your List (Plan Details)

How to compare any three plans in detail. The various sections of the detailed plan comparison are explained.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Viewing Additional Plan Details

Viewing Additional Plan Details

How can you see even more detail about a particular plan? We show you here.

Medicare.gov Tutorial - Plan Cost Estimation without Entering Drug Information

Plan Cost Estimation without Entering Drug Information

How can you get a medication based plan comparison even if you do not know your medications? Look here.

Medicare.gov - Tutorial - An Example using full LIS Status

An Example using full LIS Status

How does an plan comparison for someone who has a "full" Low Income Subsidy (LIS)? See details here.

Here is a detailed view of the complex Medicare.gov Plan Finder system

Here is the Big Picture: A View of the entire Medicare Plan Finder Process

Here is an overview showing the complex Medicare.gov Part D Plan Finder System. Please notice that some screens or areas handle more than one decision. Also, some parts of the Plan Finder allow a user to go back and change information However, other parts of the Plan Finder do not permit someone to change information once it is saved. For instance, if you entered all of your prescription drugs and dosages and then received a letter about qualifying for Extra Help, you would need to start again, change your Extra Help status and re-enter all of your medication information. The Big Picture can be found by using the link below.

Tips & Disclaimers
  • Q1Medicare®, Q1Rx®, and Q1Group® are registered Service Marks of Q1Group LLC and may not be used in any advertising, publicity, or for commercial purposes without the express authorization of Q1Group.
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDPCompare.com and MACompare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
    Statement required by Medicare:
    "We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options."
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.