NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, I have been enrolled in the same Medicare prescription drug plan for three years now, but my pharmacist told me I should look for a new plan during the open enrollment period that would fit my needs a little better. What’s the easiest way to do this?
— Need Help
Because all Medicare prescription drug plans can change their coverage and costs each calendar year, the only way to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the lowest cost is to compare your Part D plan against the competition during Medicare’s open enrollment period (which is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7).
Here are some tips and resources that can help you compare drug plans and select one that better fits your needs.
Important: Don’t confuse Medicare open enrollment with the new health insurance marketplaces that have just opened under the Affordable Care Act. They serve two totally different populations. Health insurance marketplaces are for people under age 65 who don’t have health insurance, while Medicare open enrollment is for Medicare beneficiaries who wish to review their current Medicare policies and make changes.
Open enrollment website: If you’re comfortable using a computer, you can easily compare Medicare’s drug plans yourself online.
Just go to Medicare’s Plan Finder Tool at medicare.gov/find-a-plan, type in your zip code or personal information, enter in how you currently receive your Medicare coverage, select the drugs you take and their dosages, and choose the pharmacies you use.
You’ll get a cost comparison breakdown for every plan available in your area so you can compare it to your current plan.
This tool also provides a five-star rating system that evaluates each plan based on past customer service records and suggests generics or older brand name drugs that can reduce your costs.