Author: The Senior Citizens League (i): Contact: SeniorsLeague.org
Table of contents and important points:
Chances are, most retirees are paying too much for their Medicare health and drug plans, says the Senior Citizens League (TSCL).
The consequences of making the wrong choice can be very costly, but virtually every area of the country has trained Medicare benefit counselors to work under government health insurance programs (SHIP).
According to a study by the Senior Citizens League, the cost of prescription drugs is the fastest growing expense most retired people face.
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“If you don’t tailor your needs to the lowest-cost plan that specifically covers the medications you are taking or the Medicare Advantage plan that includes the doctors and hospitals that you typically use on their network, you could be unnecessary Spending hundreds of dollars on your cover too much. ” “says Mary Johnson, a Medicare analyst for the Senior Citizens League.” For married couples, this can mean different health or drug plans for each of them, “she notes. Polls by high-profile supporters including The Senior Citizens League show however, that only a small fraction of Medicare beneficiaries are ever looking for better coverage at the lowest cost.
According to a study by the Senior Citizens League, the cost of prescription drugs is the fastest growing expense most retired people face. “Most retirees have other options that they don’t even know about,” says Johnson. The Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Period, which begins October 15 and runs through December 7, is the time to learn about these other options and make changes to your health and drug coverage.
“Drug and health plans change every year, and so does our health,” notes Johnson. Since 2005, Johnson has volunteered as a Medicare advisor in her underserved area to help neighbors, friends and family members navigate dozens of opportunities and align with optimal health and drug plans. “It’s not uncommon to save hundreds of dollars in a year,” she says.
In 2019, prescription drug costs averaged more than $ 3,875 per year, and that cost is growing in double digits. According to research by Johnson, the cost of prescription drugs has increased 252 percent (about 12.6 percent per year) since 2000. “Nobody should be complacent and swallow that kind of surge,” says Johnson. “It’s not as difficult as it seems,” says Johnson. “There are people like me who are ready to help.” Here are some tips from Johnson on how to find better coverage:
- Just do it.
Get Free Unbiased Help. The consequences of making the wrong choice can be very costly, but virtually every area of the country has trained Medicare benefit counselors to work under government health insurance programs (SHIP). Many of these programs are run by local aging agencies. Contact information for a SHIP program near you can be found at: https://www.shiptacenter.org. Call early and make an appointment. Advice can be given safely over the phone.
- Use the medication and health plan search tool at www.Medicare.gov.
Be careful what you google. Just entering “Medicare Drug Plans” will bring you to a mare’s nest of peddling plans websites. However, you want complete information for the county where you live. Instead of hanging around trying to compare plans on two or three different websites, stick to www.Medicare.gov. All drug and Medicare benefit plans that serve your county are listed. You can make your choices based on the drugs and healthcare providers you use. If you decide to switch from your current plan, it is important to first review the information listed on Medicare.gov and switch to Medicare’s registration tools. This will ensure that your registration information is included in the plan of your choice and that your previous plan is automatically notified of your de-registration.
- Look for the medications you take and include medications you only take occasionally.
If you don’t already have one, make a full list of the medications you are currently taking. Do not try to do this from memory; Read labels because spelling is important. Check the dosage and amount you are taking on a daily and monthly basis. A 90-day supply is often cheaper per dose than a 30-day supply. So, consider getting your refills this way – especially for generic ones. Drug prices can vary significantly. The difference in price, especially for branded drugs, can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
- Look for plans that offer pre-deductible coverage.
The standard deductible for drug coverage in 2021 is $ 445. That’s a lot when the average monthly Social Security benefit is only $ 1,500. But you can potentially save as much, or even more, if you are willing to go for the plan with the lowest cost premiums and expenses, based on the drugs you actually take. Additionally, many plans offer low or no co-payments for preferred generics “pre-deductible,” meaning you only have to pay for branded and non-preferred generics during the deductible coverage period.
- Compare the most cost-effective way to fill out prescriptions, especially the difference between different retail pharmacies and mail order.
It makes absolutely no sense, but even the drug plans offered by the same insurer differ significantly in drug costs. Often times, the difference between plans offered by the same insurer will depend on the pharmacy you are filling out your prescription at (e.g. CVS vs. Walmart or Walgreens) or the retail pharmacy vs. Mail order. One of the tasks of comparing plans is to find the best places to buy your recipes. This can vary depending on the recipe. For example, you can use several popular generic drugs that you can potentially fill out in the mail with zero co-pay. In retail pharmacies, however, a low co-pay can be expected. You may have one or more branded drugs that are less expensive in a retail pharmacy than in the mail (or vice versa). When you’ve narrowed down your search by medication plans, take your medication list you created at the beginning and make a note of whether the best price for the medication is by mail order, or include the specific retail pharmacy and estimated co-payment. If you switch plans, you may need to ask your doctor to take your prescription to a different pharmacy.
- If you are a diabetic, look for new Medicare drug plans that have a maximum price of $ 35 on insulin.
Some 2021 drug and Medicare Advantage plans across the country may offer different types of insulin with a maximum co-payment of $ 35 per month in 2021. This includes all stages of coverage, including deductible, initial coverage, and coverage gap. This coverage is only offered to those who otherwise do not qualify for low-income Medicare Part D grants or “Extra Help” and may not be available in all regions of the country. But check.
- If the two plans are similar in terms of cost, check out general co-insurance for non-preferred generic, branded, and specialty drugs, even if you’re not currently taking either.
Take the plan with the lowest cost non-preferred cost sharing.
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Journal: Disabled World. Language: English. Author: The Senior League. Electronic publication date: 2020-09-30. Last revision: 09/30/2020. Reference Title: “Medicare Health and Drug Plans – Are You Paying Too Much?” Source: Medicare Health and Drug Plans – Are You Paying Too Much. Summary: Chances are, most retirees are paying too much for their Medicare health and drug plans, says The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Retrieved on December 13, 2020 from https://www.disabled-world.com/ Nachrichten / Senen / Ruhestand / zu viel.php – Reference category number: DW # 472-13882.