Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription drug plans are highly encouraged to check each year during the annual enrollment period for their best plan for the following year. The annual enrollment period runs through Dec. 7. Since plans can change their premium, deductible, and drug coverage each year, there is no advantage to remain in a plan if another plan provides the same coverage for less money. The most cost-effective plan for each individual depends primarily on the specific prescriptions he or she takes. Also, each pharmacy negotiates its own reimbursements with the Part D plans. For example, area residents who use the Hometown Pharmacy in Waterloo will want to check for the plan that works best cost-wise with Hometown.

The Medicare Plan Finder on www.medicare.gov makes it possible to check all Part D options at the same time. In 2020, there will be 30 plans available in Wisconsin. The Plan Finder can be used to compare plans during the annual enrollment period or when a person first becomes eligible for Part D.

Beginning in 2020, people need a mymedicare account to get specific cost estimates. If one has not already been set up, people will be asked to choose a user name and password. Entering an email address is optional, but should be shown if the person has one. Enter the Medicare claim number and the other requested information, including the exact names and dosages of all medications if not already displayed in the Plan Finder. Up to three pharmacies can be compared at the same time. On the next page, use the dropdown menu to request that the results include both the premiums and drug costs. The results show any current plan’s estimated cost in 2020, and the other available plans are listed in order of total cost which includes premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. As many as three plans can be compared side-by-side at a time. If you choose to change plans, you can enroll online immediately in the new plan and receive confirmation. Contact information is provided if you choose to enroll later. The Plan Finder can also be used to compare Medicare Advantage plans.

Refer any questions to Jean Holzhueter at 920-478-8194 or jeanholz66@gmail.com.

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