(Excerpted from “Medicare For The Lazy Man" book)

Below you will find step-by-step navigation instructions leading you to that list of PDP plans arranged in order of annual cost.

The annual cost includes the plan’s monthly premium plus estimates of any deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for your specific list of drugs.

These instructions look complicated, but it is a government website and so was not designed to be user-friendly. The most complicated part of the process will be entering the detail for each of your current prescription medications.

Go to this site: https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare

click: “continue without logging in” (simplest for the casual user)

• Creating an account & logging in here allows your drug list to be retained for future use

click: “Drug Plan (Part D)”

Enter your ZIP code and click: “Select Your Location”

click: “I don't get help from any of these programs”

click: “Yes” (you want to see your drug costs when you compare plans)

Select your preferred way of filling prescriptions (retail drug store, mail order or both)

Add your prescription drugs: start by typing the first drug on your list, then click “Add Drug” when it turns green.

Add information about each prescription drug on your list. Be sure to click the green button "Add Drug to My List" before starting each new entry.

click: “Done Adding Drugs” after all prescription drugs have been listed

Select 1 to 3 of your favorite drug stores, even if you only plan to use mail order. Click “Done”.

The next page lists all available PDPs in your area. The default sort on the upper right side is "Lowest monthly premium".

• CRITICAL: Change to “Lowest Drug + Premium Cost” using the drop-down menu.

Observe the list of all available plans arranged in order of total annual cost from lowest to highest.

Click “Add to compare” on 2 or 3 plans and then click “Compare” to be taken to the comparison page.

Make a decision as to which plan you want to purchase. I advise using total annual cost as the basis for that decision.

Click the green “Enroll” button to buy the new plan.

Cancellation of your existing PDP will be automatic once your application to the new plan has been accepted

Remember that at each AEP in the fall subscribers will be allowed to change to another PDP if they wish.

After completing this process, you will be presented with a thorough comparison of the annual costs for both retail and mail order purchase of the drugs on your list. I advise ignoring the figures for the monthly premiums, deductibles, etc. Your objective is to find the plan that will give you the lowest total annual cost, based on your current prescription needs and favorite places to have those prescriptions filled.

If you were successful in following the directions, the least expensive plan will be at the top of the list. You may then use the “Enroll” button to contact and enroll online in your chosen PDP.

Consider repeating this process next year at the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) in the fall to ensure you have the lowest cost plan.