It's that time of the year again. Annoying TV ads full of promise, but little detail, are flooding the airwaves. The ads target the vulnerable elderly urging them to act now, before it's too late. These ads aren't by politicians, or some scam company, they are by Medicare Part D insurance companies trolling for new customers.
Each year, Medicare eligible patients can change, free of charge, to a new plan. Yearly change is allowed because insurance companies tweek their plan's deductibles, monthly premiums and co-pays. By advertising the insurance companies hope to attract new customers without their existing customers noticing the "tweeks". The insurers count on people's belief that all plans are the same, or that switching plans is a hassle. The Medicare insurers are right, most Part D benificiaries resign with their existing plan.
At Olden's we know all plans are not equal. Taking time to compare Part D Medicare Drug Plans will help you stretch the $3,300 pot of benefit money you and the insurance company jointly spend on medications.
If you are computer savvy log onto the Medicare.gov website to compare plans. If your prefer some personal help, swing by Olden's, we'll help you exam the three elements needed to make a thoughtful Medicare Part D choice.
1. The Formulary.
A formulary is a list of covered medications. Take the time to compare your medications against the formulary. If a medicine you take is not on the list, you'll have to pay full price for it. ( And don't hesitate to remind your doctor to check the formulary before he prescribes a new med.)
2. The Yearly Deductible, Monthly Premium and Co-pays.
Insurance companies have the math figured out in their favor. If they offer you a low premium, you are probably going to pay higher co-pays. If there is no deductible, your premium is higher. That's ok. Think like they do. Do you take lots of medications, and find the co pays at the drug store a burden? If so, maybe a higher premium plan will make budgeting easier and lower your co-pays. If you take only a couple of inexpensive multi-source generics, go for a high deductible, low premium plan.
3. The Pharmacy
The 3,300.00 dollar benefit you receive from Medicare is jointly spent by you at the pharmacy register, and by the insurance companies. A well informed, conscientious pharmacist will be mindful of the true cost to you. He or she can then inform you of less expensive alternatives and contact the doctor for a cheaper alternative. At Olden's we watch out for our patient's expenses, are qualified to make alternative suggestions, and are willing to take the time to do so.
So, mute the TV or better yet turn it off and stop by Olden's. Switching is easy and can be done by computer, phone, or mail.
We wish you good health in 2016, but if you fall ill and are prescribed medication, come see us. We'll do our best to make sure your Part D Prescription money is well spent.