Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Compare Medicare Part D Costs Before the Deadline

with one comment

We’re coming to the end of the Medicare Part D open enrollment period for prescription drug coverage.  If you or an elder you are watching out for has a Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage, the Dec. 31 is coming soon.

 I help my mom with her coverage and to tell you the truth I didn’t think there was any reason to make a change this year.  At least until she got her bill yesterday for 2010. 

The premiums almost doubled!  And while she does not take a lot of prescription drugs, I thought I better do what I tell others to do and check the options available to her.

I was surprised to find out how much the Medicare Part D landscape has changed.  Fewer plans, higher rates, shifting tiers (the level of payment the plan will cover according to it’s formulary).

I see the TV ads promising average savings of $400, $600 and wonder how can that be.  Well, now I see and it doesn’t take long to add up.  An increase of $10-15 per month in the cost of the plan, a shift in the formulary leading to even just $10 more per month adds up in no time at all.

 So, if you haven’t done it, take the time to compare.  Don’t assume the plan you have is the best value for 2010. And don’t get caught feeling bad for switching.  Even Medicrae tells you to shop and compare!

Go to Medicare.gov prescription drug comparison tool and take the time to put in the prescriptions that you or the person you are helping is currently taking (you’ll need the name of the drug, the dosage and frequency).  If you have their Medicare number you can have it compare against the current coverage.

You can purchase directly from the site, go to the health care plan itself or an insurance agent or broker who handles that plan.

If you aren’t sure, try a insurance broker that represents a number of companies and offers to help you compare plans.  The only caution here is if they are commission based, remember that they may receive more if the plan they sell you is more expensive.  So ask.  Some companies pay their agents a flat fee no matter what plan is selected which helps assure that your interests and theirs are aligned.

Looks like we’ll save about $300 by switching to a different part D plan.  Not that we were unhappy with them — just didn’t make financial sense to stay.  Nice way to start 2010.

Did you have a similar experience with part D this year?

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Written by Laura Rossman

December 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

One Response

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  1. Like your mom, my Prescription D premium increased substantially. I switched to a more affordable plan with the help of http://www.PlanPrescriber.com. With their search and compare tool, I was able to find plans offered in my zip code and compare them with my current plan. Since many Medicare recipients will see an increase in their Medicare premium for 2010, I recommend doing a comparison at PlanPrescriber.com before making your enrollment decision.

    Tammy

    December 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm


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