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It's that time again

Well, it's that time of the year when those of us having any type of Medicare insurance should take some time to look at our medical and financial situations.

Well, it's that time of the year when those of us having any type of Medicare insurance should take some time to look at our medical and financial situations. We should see if anything has changed this year, or might change next year, that could have a costly, negative effect on our health, either medically or financially!

There are many things that might make us think about some changes to our medical coverage, Among them are:

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.
  • Maybe you haven't had to take many (or any) prescription drugs and now you need to start taking them for hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, etc.
  • How can you minimize their costs?
  • Do you have any prescription drug coverage, and if you do, is it the most effective for the drugs you are taking?
  • Can you get them through mail order 3 months at a time in the mail or are you limited to getting them at a local pharmacy a month at a time in person?
  • Are the drugs you take in the formulary of the plan you have (they can change each year) or is the tier they are in changing (for better or worse)?

There are so many different variations in Medicare drug plans - in premiums, deductibles, copays, coinsurance levels, formularies, networks, etc. - that you should take some time during October and November to review your coverage.

Do you have an Advantage plan, with or without drug coverage, which you are satisfied with?
  • Has anything about the plan changed - network, premiums, coverage levels and their costs, are your service providers still in the network, etc. - that will directly impact you negatively?
  • If the plan has drug coverage the same issues as above may apply.
  • Is the same plan still being offered by the insurance company in your area?
  • Overall, does the plan still meet your needs or would original medicare + a drug plan + a supplemental plan be a better option for your needs.
Do you have a Supplement plan in addition to Parts A and B?
  • Although it is not as easy to change supplement plans without running the risk of medical underwriting and possible higher premiums, there might be circumstances that could suggest changing your plan.
  • Is the insurance company supplying your plan working satisfactorily for you, or would another company be better?
  • Is there any element in your plan that you find problem some that you could avoid with another plan (copay and deductible costs too great in plan N compared to plan F, even with the increased premium for plan F)?
Do you have Original Medicare and think an Advantage plan might be better?
  • Is the premium for an Advantage plan with drug coverage less than the combined premiums of a drug plan and a supplement plan while still giving you equivalent coverages?
  • Does an Advantage plan offer additional coverages and services that aren't available any other way?
  • Are all of your doctors and hospitals and labs in a plans network and you aren't planning on moving out of the network area?
These are only some of the issues you should look at in the next 2 months in order to maximize your coverages and protect your health at the best price and service level available.

Give it some thought!