February 21, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Are You Making The Most Of Medicare Part D Open Enrollment?

Mike Bochniewicz
Mike Bochniewicz's picture
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August 23, 2017

Are you making the most of Medicare Part D open enrollment? Sadly, the answer to this question, for most people, is “no.” Recent surveys show that more than 80 percent of Medicare Part D patients pay more than they have to, some as high as hundreds to thousands of dollars more than necessary. Actually, people who shop for the plan that is in their best financial interest save an average of about $700 annually. Incredibly, six of 10 Medicare patients don't review their health plan annually.

When choosing a plan, most people get their information from mailings from insurance companies, insurance brokers or friends. However, the best source of information is Medicare. To evaluate your options properly, Medicare needs three things:

·         The name of your medications

·         The strength of your medications

·         The number of pills for each medication you take per day

With these three items, there are three ways to get this information:

·         If you are computer savvy, go to www.medicare.gov. Enter your prescription medications and you'll get the three best-priced plans for you. If you need help on the computer, a trusted relative, friend or insurance broker could help you with this.

·         Call 1-800-MEDICARE to find out your three most cost-effective options.

·         Check with your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies provide this service.

Each year, from October 15 through December 7, subscribers currently enrolled in Medicare Part D may re-enroll in their current plan or switch to another plan.

Newly eligible Medicare patients have a seven-month window to apply for Medicare — three months before turning 65, the month of their 65th birthday and three months after their 65th birthday. If they don’t enroll in this period, they face a penalty that is applied to their premium.

Medicare Advantage patients can switch to another advantage plan or to original Medicare during open enrollment. They also have from January 1 through February 2 to disenroll in an advantage plan and enroll into original Medicare.

Not all Medicare patients are required to sign up for Part D coverage. People who work past their 65th birthday and have prescription coverage from their employer, as well as those who have employer-sponsored prescription coverage after they retire, do not need to sign up for Medicare Part D. However, they must make sure they receive a letter from their employer stating that their coverage has been deemed credible. Otherwise, they may be subject to enrollment penalties. These penalties are usually 1 percent per month added to the monthly premium for the number of months that there was no credible coverage.

Mike’s Pharmacy offers a free, no-obligation Medicare plan comparison that will show you which plans cover all your medications for the best price. Anyone in need of assistance can bring a complete list of medications (name, strength and how often you take each medicine) to either Pasadena store: 8541 Fort Smallwood Road (410-255-1800) or 3820 Mountain Road (410-255-0099).

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