Connect One Health offers some helpful tips for those who may want to change or upgrade their Medicare D plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period that begins October 15, 2014.
Why make a change?
One reason to consider a new plan is that many prescription drug insurance plans change their formulary on an annual basis. This means that drugs that you are used to receiving may not be available to you under the new formulary. If that should occur, you will have to pay the full price of the medication out of your own pocket.
Another reason to change might be that your local pharmacy is no longer going to be accepting your prescription drug plan. The agreements between insurance carriers and pharmacies are not permanent. The people who pay for those changes are the patrons who need medications.
What kind of Options are Available to you?
During the Medicare Open Enrollment period, seniors have four options for prescription drug plans.
- The first option is to either continue with Medicare or continue with your Medicare Advantage plan.
- The second option is to Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare and opt for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
- Seniors may also opt for choice number three and move from Medicare to an Advantage Plan with a new Prescription drug plan.
- There is a fourth option if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can sometimes change just the prescription drug plan.
What to Consider when picking a New Prescription Drug Plan?
Annual cost: The annual cost of the plan is important but not as important as what the plan will cost you to use or save you when used. Add up your prescription costs for the month and compare your current costs and savings to each new plan you consider.
- Formulary: A key component of any drug plan is the formulary. If the formulary is not offering all of your prescription medications than it is not the plan for you. A good plan offers comprehensive drug coverage, and that means either generic or non-generic medications that are available from the formulary.
- Deductibles: Deductibles can cost you a lot of money annually. Seniors want to pay close attention to the deductibles for each plan and the out of pocket expenses for each plan. The monthly cost of the plan is important, but not if the plan is going to cost you more money annually than it will save you.
- Maximum Benefits: Most prescription drug plans have a maximum annual benefit. Pay attention to what the maximum benefit is and compare it to the cost of your current medications. If you go over the maximum benefit, you may have to pay 100% of each prescription that you need thereafter.