It’s that time of year once again, where seniors have the opportunity to change their Medicare coverage. In fact, it is the only time of the year that a senior can make changes in their Medicare D Prescription Drug Program or change their Medicare coverage into a Medicare Advantage Plan. Open enrollment has just started and ends December 7. Even if you’ve been happy with your Medicare D Prescription Drug Plan, it is important that you take this opportunity to re-look at your situation. Just because your current plan fits your needs doesn’t mean that same plan will work for you next year. It is important every year that you re-evaluate your current coverage.
It certainly would be easier if you could select a Medicare D Prescription Drug Plan and not worry about it for a number of years; unfortunately, you cannot afford to do that. Insurance companies make changes in their coverages and plans every year that can not only have a direct impact on your monthly premiums, but also on your deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. In addition, insurance companies can also make changes in the list of covered drugs which can have an adverse effect on you. Also, let’s not forget that your health situation can change from year to year as well as your medication, and this can certainly impact the plan you choose. Therefore, it’s important that you re-evaluate your plan and do it now.
One of the best places to begin your re-evaluation is to visit the plan finder tool on Medicare.gov. This is a free service and it can help you choose the best plan for you. When it comes to choosing the best plan, obviously, the plans with low costs are beneficial; however, you also need to look at co-payments and deductibles as they are also important to take into consideration. Particularly for those of you who take multiple medications, the key is to focus on the medications that cost you the most and that you take more frequently. Also let’s not forget that a key factor in selecting a plan is convenience. You want to select a plan that makes it easy for you to get your medications.
When you do shop around for a Medicare Prescription D Plan, one mistake many seniors make is they think if a plan is good for one spouse it is automatically good for the other; that is not the case. Since health situations and medications needed are different for each individual, it is not unusual for spouses to potentially need different plans. This may cause you a little bit of a hassle and inconvenience; however, there potentially can be significant financial savings. Therefore, for husband and wife, when you do your search for the right plan, you need to do your research independently.
This is the one time of year where the great majority of people can make changes to their Medicare Prescription D Plan, and it’s important that you take advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately, there are no extensions of time and therefore, if you let this deadline pass it can be very costly to you.
I know that sometimes it is not easy to re-evaluate your Medicare Prescription D Coverage, and it can be a hassle and very frustrating. However, it is what it is, and unfortunately there is no other alternative. The reality of the situation is that if you want to have the best coverage for yourself, and a plan that is convenient for you, there is no option than to re-evaluate your situation, and now is the time to do it.
Rick is a fee-only financial advisor. If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.