Hey seniors, save some money!The Money Shot Thursday, November 7th, 2013
We are right in the middle of the open enrollment period for Medicare coverage. This means those 65 and older can change their Medicare Part D plan anytime between now and Dec. 7. Why should seniors care? Because you can save some serious money!
Retirees live on a fixed income, so it is extremely important to get the biggest bang for those bucks. One way to do that is to confirm you have the best Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Retirees can boost their spendable income by reducing their Medicare costs with the right drug plan matching their medicines.
There are so many insurance companies that offer Part D plans it can be overwhelming to research them all. Part D plans are very different, and the costs vary greatly depending on the plan you choose. Even for the same drugs, there can be differences in costs for each plan within the same city. Comparing Part D plans is crucial, and choosing the right one for you should be considered an important financial decision.
There are many reasons someone may want to switch their Medicare Part D plan. Your medications may have changed from when you originally picked a plan. Your current Part D plan changed the drugs it covers. Or maybe the costs of your plan increased quite a bit in the last few years.
All of these are good reasons to go shopping for a new Part D plan. Luckily, Medicare created a user-friendly tool to sift through all of the options so seniors can shop for the best plan. Go to Medicare.gov to begin the process of finding the right plan for you. (Note that this Web site operates flawlessly and does not have any of the problems that HealthCare.gov is having.)
Once you are on the Medicare.gov Web site, click on the Find Health & Drug Plans button. Enter your zip code and start the search. There are several questions to answer. For instance, this tool needs to know your current medications and dosages. It will also let you know if there is a generic alternative to any of your prescriptions.
The end result is a list of Part D plans available in your area showing monthly premiums, deductibles, and overall costs based specifically on your medicines. Having this information in one place makes it easy to compare plans.
Be sure to focus on the Estimated Annual Drug Costs column of the search results. What you will discover is that the insurance plans with the lowest monthly premium will end up being the more expensive plans. This is because deductibles and copays are typically higher in these plans. Don’t fall into the trap of just focusing on the plan with the lowest monthly premium. It’s the total cost of premiums, deductibles, and copays that matters to your budget.
You can make a knowledgeable decision by using the Medicare.gov tool to shop for a Part D drug plan that best meets your needs. And hopefully save a bunch of money in the process!
Steve Doster is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional providing commission-free financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. You can reach Steve at Doster Financial Planning by phone 619-688-1192 or email email@example.com. You can also follow Steve on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or blog to get more personal finance advice and tips.
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