If you already don’t know, you have between October 15th and December 7th to make changes to any Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Insurance policy.
Why is this important?
For many of us the cost of the drugs we are taking as we get older can significantly impact both our health and/or the cost of staying healthy, and the plan you currently have may not be the best for you in 2018!!
Each year your current plan sends you a document (usually a booklet) that describes what changes will take place in the coming year’s version of the plan. They might even notify you that the plan is no longer available.
How should you conduct a review of the plan you have now versus next year’s alternatives:
- Ask some questions of yourself and try and get answers by looking at some alternative plans for 2018:
- Are you happy with your plan?
- Have your medications changed from last year and how are they covered by your current plan next year? Did they change tiers? Are they even covered at all?
- Will there be any changes like restrictions placed on your drugs?
- Is the pharmacy or mail order capability you use now still available next year, and if so, have their network preferred status and copays changed?
- Have the in-network, out-of-network, and mail order costs (either fixed amount or %) changed for the tiers?
- Has the deductible changed either in dollar amount or the tiers it applies to?
- Has the premium changed?
- Compare your renewal plan to other plans available in your area:
- Use the personalized drug cost search tool on the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov found under Find Health and Drug plans. You can build a personalized list of your medications and save it and use it over and over again, even for next year’s review.
- Take all costs (premiums, deductibles, copays, co-insurance, and tier placement) into consideration in your review.
- If you find a plan or plans you like you can confirm any information on the insurance company’s website.
- Decide if it makes sense for you to make a plan change.
Even though all Part D Drug plans have to meet general Medicare/CMS guidelines, the manner in which a plan is put together and sets their costs varies greatly from company to company. Just trying to compare one plan against another can be very complicated, so use all the tools available to you.
Not making this kind of review can be very costly to you!!!
Just remember 2 things:
- No plan information is finalized until October 15th and be careful you are looking at 2018 plans.
- If you are married both you and your spouse need to do this review separately, there are no family plans.