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Medicare Tips & Tools
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Tips About Medicare
7 Tips for Choosing Part D
- Compare plans for the specific drugs you use and recheck every year.
- Premiums are projected to rise each year, so be sure you receive value.
- Pay attention to copayment and coinsurance. It’s the combination of copays and premiums and the deductible that impacts the total cost.
- Over half of Part D plans (53%) charge a deductible, but that could change next year.
- Compare the medications you need to the formulary and make sure a pharmacy near you is compatible with the plan. If you sign up for a plan that requires you to fill all your prescriptions at a specific pharmacy, you could end up paying more.
- Don’t delay signing up when you’re first eligible, or go 63 days or more with prescription drug coverage or it may cost you more.
- The Part D “donut hole” is gradually closing for those spending $3,310 in prescription drug costs, but most Part D plans offer no gap coverage now, and those that do provide only generic brands. Do the math.
7 Tips for Choosing an Advantage Plan
- Call your doctor to see what plan they accept, and which one they recommend.
- Look at the plan’s entire cost, not just the premiums and deductibles. Compare out-of-pocket maximums plus copays and coinsurance for doctor visits, tests, specialists, etc. (Remember, if you are enrolled in an advantage plan, you are not eligible for a Medigap supplement policy.)
- Check the plan’s drug formulary — the list of prescription drugs covered — to be sure the meds you take are covered or that you don’t have to try less expensive drugs first.
- Check to see whether your extra benefits are covered, like dental, vision, and hearing — if these benefits are important to you.
- Some plans limit you to using in-network doctors only, so find out what’s covered if you have an emergency outside your network area.
- Make sure the doctors in the plans you’re considering are located near you, and check to see if hospitals, home health agencies and skilled nursing facilities are nearby too.
- If you have coverage from a former employer, check with the benefits manager to be sure signing up for an Advantage plan won’t void your retiree coverage.