How to Evaluate Your Medicare Options

The Medicare Web site has a tool that makes it easy to find the best plan for you.

If you’re age 65 or over, you have a slew of choices for filling the gaps in Medicare during open-enrollment season, which runs from October 15 to December 7. Most people choose either Medicare Part D prescription-drug coverage (to supplement a medigap policy) or a Medicare Advantage policy, which covers both medical and prescription-drug costs. The coverage and costs can change every year, and you have only eight weeks to make a decision that generally locks you in for a year.

Medicare’s Plan Finder makes it easy to find out which plan is likely to offer the best deal. Type in your zip code and your drugs and dosages, and the tool shows how much you’d pay over a year in total out-of-pocket costs -- including premiums and co-payments.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.