With the annual election period for the Medicare prescription drug program beginning Nov. 15, elder-care expert Esther Koch says many seniors are currently in the wrong plan and are wasting money as a result. To get in the right plan for 2009, seniors are advised to use the Drug Plan Finder at www.MEDICARE.gov.
When it comes to prescription drug coverage seniors fall into 4 groups: seniors with employee or retiree drug coverage; those in Medicare Advantage Plans with drug coverage; those in low income subsidy programs; and seniors who are in stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans or have no prescription drug coverage. It’s that last group that needs to act…
Koch offers the following three recommendations for this group of seniors:
1. SENIORS MUST REVIEW THEIR DRUG PLANS EVERY YEAR
Why? Because even if their medications haven’t changed it’s almost certain that their plan’s formulary of drugs covered and pricing have. Medicare contracts with a variety of insurance companies to cover drug costs. What few seniors or caregivers know is that these insurance companies submit new plans to Medicare each year … Last year’s plan is not this year’s plan and that means that it’s unlikely that the best plan for you last year is still the best plan for you this year…
2. A HIGHER PREMIUM PLAN DOESN’T MEAN MORE OR BETTER COVERAGE
It seems logical that choosing a drug plan with a higher premium is going to give you more benefits, but when it comes to Medicare Prescription Drug Plans this simply isn’t true. What you need to focus on is total estimated annual cost… This takes into consideration all the variables including the plan’s formulary of drugs; individual drug classifications and pricing; monthly premiums; deductible amount; whether donut hole coverage is provided; and when catastrophic coverage is triggered.
3. WEB-SAVVY BOOMER-AGE KIDS NEED TO BE INVOLVED
If choosing the right plan sounds like it requires sifting through a lot of information, it does. Luckily, the government offers a powerful online tool that makes this process easy to manage. Web-savvy Boomers can help their parents compare stand-alone drug plans by using the Medicare Prescription Drug Care Plan Finder. By entering their parents’ ZIP code, drug names, dosage information, and 30-day supply amounts, Boomers can obtain a prioritized list of drug plan options sorted from the least expensive to the most expensive plan based on total estimated annual cost…
The annual election period for the Medicare drug program runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.