Validate the Best Medicare Part D Plan for Next Year: Many Will Save Over A Thousand Dollars
If you or someone you know is on Medicare and has drug coverage with Medicare Part D, it is imperative to verify the best plan for you next year. The only time to do so is between Oct 15th and Dec 7th. Failing to do so could cost you more than a thousand dollars of unnecessary drug costs next year.
Most people over 65 take prescription drugs. Medicare part D was authorized by Congress under the "Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003." However, when the law was designed, it allows companies to change their plans every year.
Since these plans are provided by for profit insurance companies, they do change their plan offerings with the goal of making more money. This is why it is important to be certain that you re-shop your plan every year to get the best/lowest overall cost option for you.
There are at many reasons you cannot assume that the plan you are on this year will be the best one for you in the following year. These reasons include:
- Changes in monthly premium
- Changes in the medications you take
- Changes in what drugs are offered in the different plans
- Changes in the plans tier levels for the drugs you take
- Changes in the plan deductible amount.
- The Pharmacy you prefer. With some plans you get the best price on drugs by using a specific pharmacy. (You need to know this and make sure you are using that pharmacy.)
- Do you or would you use generics or only name brand drugs
- If you have moved to a different area with different plan offerings. (Not all plans are offered everywhere)
- Your plan may no longer be offered. (In this case if you do nothing you will be enrolled in another plan that most likely will not be the best suited for you.)
- Changes in the impact when you are in the “donut hole”. (If you do not know what is the donut hole learn more here.)
The best way to verify the best plan for you is directly with Medicare. Your two best options are either logging on to the Medicare site at:
or calling Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), but you could be on hold a while.
In some areas, Medicare has partnered with organizations to provide unbiased help when seniors with selecting a plan. In California, the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program “HICAP” helps thousands during the open enrollment period select the best plan at no cost.
Insurance agents sell these Part D plans for a commission. Many can be helpful, but you may not end up with the best plan for you because most agents are appointed to sell only 1, 2 or 3 of the 12 different companies offering Part D coverage's. Less honest agents make more money by selling more costly plans than less costly plans which may not be in your interest.
If you go online to search for a Part D Plan, the majority of offerings on the first page of Google are for profit companies trying to sell you a plan. You are safest to use the Medicare.gov site.
Understanding how Medicare Part D works can be difficult. As a result, many people do not understand the importance of verifying the best plan every year. To help people be informed, Medicare provides a short video on understanding Part D.
You may not need to go through this shopping process if you are covered by an employer or union group health plan, a Medicare Advantage plan or are low income and on a special program.
Example of Plan Differences with I Person
Below is an example of how plan coverage and costs can vary for one client that takes 4 different drugs. Your experience may be greatly different based on your location and the medications you take.
- Deductibles ranged from $0 to $435 a year
- Premiums range from a low of $12.80 to a high of $118.40 a month.
- Premium and drugs costs for the year were a low of $512.80 to a high of $1741.12.
- The costs for mail order options ranged from $615.64 to $1855.08
The financial impact of not shopping for the best plan can cost seniors over a thousand dollars of unnecessary costs (premiums, deductibles, copay's or the cost drugs that are not on your plan but that are covered by others). Do yourself a big favor and determine the best plan for 2020 NOW.