When comparing drug plans, don’t choose a plan just based on the monthly premium. Low-premium plans often have higher prescription co-payments and could end up being more expensive. Look at the “estimated annual drug costs” which is how much you can expect to pay for the entire year in total out-of-pocket costs, including; premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
An important deadline is approaching – enrollment for Medicare Part D plans is underway and there are only a couple weeks left to pick the plan that suits you. Your selection needs to be made by December 7th. Just make sure you choose wisely as there are big changes happening to many popular plans.
Here is a sobering statistic pulled by a posting over at the New Old Age blog on the New York Times: “only 5.2 percent of Medicare Part D beneficiaries manage to choose the most economical plan” (see “Part D, Part 2”). And why would that be? The market shifts greatly from year to year and providers frequently hide the gritty details with broad promises, but it’s those very details that determine your day-to-day life and much of your finances.
For a short list of things to watch for and a broader view on comparing plans it may be helpful to review another article, “Avoid A Costly Medicare Part D Mistake Right Now” through Forbes.
The big things to watch?
- Increased monthly premium.
- Increased deductible amount.
- Changes in what drugs the plans cover and how well they cover them.
- Changes in the medications you take.
- Your plan may no longer be offered. In this case if you do nothing you will be enrolled in another plan that may not be the best suited for you.
As you ponder over which plan is best for your needs, remember that enrollment ends December 7th.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: elder law planning in Williamsburg, Virginia . Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
References: Forbes (November 8, 2012) “Avoid A Costly Medicare Part D Mistake Right Now”
The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog (November 1, 2012) “Part D, Part 2”