It Pays to Compare
By Jackie Dover
Comparison-shopping allows consumers to pick the right product for them at the right price.
Comparison-shopping for insurance is no different. Medicare Part D Open Enrollment begins Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7 every year, with the new drug plans taking effect on January 1 of the following year. This open enrollment period gives Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to compare the coverage they have with other available plans to determine if the changes made to their plans are acceptable. Medicare drug plans change every year, the costs of the plan including the monthly premium and the deductible can go up or down. The plans can change what medicines they cover, what tier the medicines are on and even the co-payments for each medication. It is a good idea to check out what is available even if the plan you have was great this year.
For 2024 in Missouri, there are 21 Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDP), the premium costs vary from $0 up to $111.50 per month. That is a huge difference. However, the premium is not the only thing to consider. You want to make sure your medicines are covered, your pharmacy is preferred or in-network and the cost for your prescriptions is the best possible. Open enrollment also gives those who opted out of drug coverage an opportunity to get into a drug plan and allows beneficiaries to get in or out of Medicare Advantage plans.
The Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov is the tool used to compare Medicare Prescription Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans. Prescription medications are entered and the available plans are sorted so the cost for each medicine, the premium amount and the deductible are easy to see. You can also compare the Advantage Plans and see the different benefits they offer. This will allow you to make an educated choice about what coverage you want for next year. The process is the same for anyone who needs help this open enrollment.
Call our office to schedule an appointment if you need assistance. We will need your zip code, Medicare information, list of medications and the pharmacy you prefer to use. This information will allow us to determine which plans will cover your medicine at the best cost.
When you are reviewing your coverage for 2024 it is also a great time to check to see if you are eligible for any of the Extra Help programs. For those who meet the income and asset guidelines there could be help to pay the Medicare Part D premiums and assist with co-pays for medicine, there are also programs that can help pay the Medicare Part B premium.
Please call Aging Matters to schedule an appointment or for more information 1-800-392-8771, because Aging Matters.