How to Compare Medicare Part D Plans
I already have a Medicare Part D plan. Do I need to fill out any forms or sign anything before open enrollment is over on December 7?
SEE ALSO: Navigating Medicare Special Report
No. If you don’t do anything during the open-enrollment period, you’ll continue to be covered by your current Part D plan. But it’s a good idea to check out your options, even if you’re happy with your current coverage. Insurers have been boosting premiums, increasing co-payments, changing drugs to different pricing tiers (a drug that had been in the preferred category may now be nonpreferred and subject to a higher co-payment) and imposing new rules requiring you to get preauthorization for coverage of certain drugs. In a recent trend, insurers are creating a big pricing difference between in-network and out-of-network pharmacies.
By not switching plans, you could be paying more than you have to. A study by eHealthInsurance’s Plan Prescriber found that 92% of Medicare beneficiaries are not currently enrolled in the Part D or Medicare Advantage plan with the lowest total out-of-pocket costs available to them. If they switched to the plan with the lowest costs for their medications, they could save an average of $668 for Part D coverage or $612 for Medicare Advantage plans.
Although you have until December 7 to pick your plan for 2013, be sure to leave yourself time for shopping. Last year, more than 40% of customers waited until after Thanksgiving to review their plan options, says Ross Blair, CEO of PlanPrescriber.com. If you haven’t made your choice yet, check out the following resources during this final week of open enrollment.
Start by checking the out-of-pocket costs for the Part D or Medicare Advantage (Medicare Health Plans) options in your area by using the Medicare Plan Finder. See The Best Resource for Comparing Medicare Plans for a guide to using the Plan Finder and other resources to help you pick a plan. If you’d like personalized assistance, you can contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (get local contact information at www.shiptalk.org ShipTalk.org or by calling 800-633-4227).
Got a question? Ask Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.