Why It’s Important To Review Your Plan Every Year
The signs of autumn: trees bursting into color, cooler temperatures, and open enrollment. There are different open enrollments: employer health plans, or individual health insurance through the Maryland Heath Exchange, and Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Part D Prescription Drug plans. Let’s focus on Medicare Part D plans.
Why Review My Part D Prescription Drug Plan?
Medicare Part D plans change every year. Premiums change, medications are dropped from the list of covered drugs (the formulary), drugs are moved to different tiers, or additional approval is required. Your medications may be covered this year, but not the next.
Plus, everyone wants to spend less on their prescription drugs.
There are many choices with attractive plan features – maybe a low monthly premium, no annual deductible, or your neighbors or friends say one plan is the best. How do you know which is the best Part D plan for you?
The best plan for you is the Part D plan that gives you the lowest annual or yearly cost based on your specific medications and needs. The lowest annual cost = premiums + annual deductible + co-pays.
Each year from October 15-December 7, you can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan. You don’t have to change your Part D plan, but you do want to compare your current plan to next year’s plan.
How Do I Compare Part D Prescription Drug Plan?
Medicare Plan Finder is an online tool, created by Medicare, to help you find and compare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. The Plan Finder walks you through each step of the process and is available at www.Medicare.gov.
You enter your current medications, add up to five pharmacies, and if you take insulin, use the “insulin savings” filter to find plans that help you save on your insulin costs.
If you would like help comparing Part D plans, you can also request Montgomery County SHIP to prepare a free comparison. We use the same Medicare Plan Finder, your medications, and favorite pharmacies to find plans with the lowest annual cost for you to compare.
So where can you go to get more information about Medicare and your individual needs?
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a supporting federal program designed to provide local, in-depth, and unbiased insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers.
Montgomery County SHIP is your local resource for all things Medicare.
We counsel and inform Montgomery County Medicare-eligible residents about Medicare coverage and choices, costs, beneficiary rights, and programs to help those who do not have the financial resources to pay for their coverage.
Visit our website for Medicare information at www.MedicareABCD.org or contact us directly at (301) 255-4250 or SHIP@AccessJCA.org.
Made possible with a grant from US Community for Living through the State of Maryland and Montgomery County. Montgomery County contracted with the Jewish Council for Aging to manage Montgomery County SHIP.