It is possible to save money on Medicare drug expenses.
You read that right.
Most people have had to take prescription medications at some point during their lives.
For some, these drugs may target chronic and ongoing issues.
For others, the medications may have been prescribed to address an illness or ailment for a specific time.
As people age, they are more likely to require ongoing prescriptions.
According to a recent Money Talks News article titled “How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Medicare Drug Costs,” having prescription drug coverage is essential for many seniors.
Prior to settling on a Medicare drug plan, it is important to do your research and shop around.
According to research conducted by the Senior Citizens League, the costs of certain prescriptions can vary by hundreds or thousands of dollars with different Medicare Part D plans.
Why are there such significant differences?
Rather than the federal government negotiating Medicare drug prices, the private insurance companies negotiate their own prescription coverage for Medicare Part D plans.
As such, each Medicare Part D plan has its own formulas and covered prescriptions.
For this reason, it is vital for seniors to compare plans carefully during the annual open enrollment period for Medicare.
This year, open enrollment takes place between October 15 and December 7.
Consequently, the best time to do comparison shopping is during the annual Medicare open enrollment period that starts October 15 and ends on December 7.
The two main categories of Medicare health insurance are Medicare Advantage plans and Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans are made possible through private insurers working in contract with the federal government for the Medicare program.
Original Medicare is available directly from the federal government and does not include coverage for prescription medications.
Without prescription coverage included, what can a person do to get insurance for their medication with Original Medicare?
Medicare Part D must be purchased from a private insurer.
How you can you set yourself up better for finding the right plan during open enrollment?
Review your current coverage.
You will likely receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) for your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan.
As the name suggestions, this document will outline changes to your current plan should you choose to renew the same plan for the following year.
Reviewing the costs for your Medicare drugs can help you evaluate whether a different plan might be better for you.
Inventory your prescriptions.
You should know the prescriptions you take regularly.
Make a list and include the name, dose, quantity taken each day, and quantity taken each month.
Armed with this information, you will be better able to compare the coverage details of each plan.
You can even discuss your list with your physician.
Consider asking for help.
Did you know, that as a Medicare recipient, you have access to free Medicare insurance counseling.
This counseling is one-on-one and provided by State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs).
For Kansas, click here.
For Missouri, click here.
Not a resident of the Sunflower State or the Show Me State, you can click here to visit the national SHIP website to find a program in your state.
Narrow down your options.
Not all Medicare drug options will be optimal for you and your loved ones.
Compare your current plan with its updates to other prescription plans.
Does one plan provide less expensive or better drug coverage?
If you need help comparing plans, click here to utilize the Medicare Plan Finder feature available at Medicare.gov.
Should you choose to change from your current plan, you will want to do so through the Medicare website rather than through the private insurance company.
By following these steps, you will be better equipped to find the right Medicare drug coverage for your needs.
Now, block off October 15 and December 7 on your calendar to make sure you remember the enrollment period.
Reference: Money Talks News (Nov. 11, 2019) “How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Medicare Drug Costs”