If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare, what you do or don’t do over the next few weeks could determine whether you can get the best, most affordable coverage next year. Hear’s why:
Medicare Part D prescription plans frequently change premiums, drug formularies, deductibles and co-payment amounts for specific drugs from year to year. Medicare Advantage plans often make similar changes; plus doctors, hospitals and pharmacies may drop out of their preferred provider networks.
Thus, by simply choosing the same options for 2015 without investigating alternatives, you could wind up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more for similar healthcare services.
Medicare’s annual election period ends Dec. 7.
For most people, this is the best — and sometimes only — opportunity to make coverage changes. (Exceptions are made for people who qualify for special enrollment periods.)
If you already have traditional Medicare Parts A and B and a Medigap plan, you don’t need to make any changes; however, if you also have a Part D plan, you must either accept your current plan’s changes or choose another plan.
When choosing next year’s Part D plan:
- Carefully review your plan’s “Annual Notice of Change” for any changes to premiums, deductibles, co-payments, covered drugs, participating pharmacies, etc.
- Notice whether they’ve changed co-payments or co-insurance for your medications or possibly dropped some altogether. (Yes, this does happen!) Ask your doctor whether comparable, covered drugs will work; otherwise you could pay much more next year.
- Even if your plan hasn’t changed substantially, it’s still wise to sit down with someone like myself who can help you compare all available plans. Each year I am trained and tested on the new plans by each of the insurance companies and I have the experience and knowledge to help you make the best choice.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The lowest monthly premium may not be your best bet — sometimes plans with higher monthly premiums have a lower overall cost due to their more favorable deductible, co-payment and coinsurance amounts. Also each company negotiates individual drug prices so a drug that costs $400 per month with one company may put you in the Coverage gap sooner than one that only costs $80 with another company. This is an important piece of your plan review.
Medicare Advantage plans are HMO or PPO type Managed care plans. They are alternatives to Traditional Medicare Parts A and B with a Medigap Supplement. Most cover drugs and some include extra benefits like vision and dental coverage or reimbursement for gym memberships. They usually have lower deductibles and co-payments but require you to use the plan’s provider network.
If your Part C, Medicare Advantage plan includes drug coverage you should also carefully review the “Annual Notice of Change” from your plan for any changes that could cost you more money in 2015.
Bottom line: Reviewing your Medicare options each year is complicated and time-consuming. But if you don’t and your plans change significantly, it could cost you a bundle next year.
Call Todd today for a no-cost plan review, toll free: (866) 976-9038