Monday, November 28, 2011

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO November 28, 2011

For 2012 plans, which start Jan. 1, the open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2011. During this period, you can join, switch or drop your plan. And everyone with Medicare coverage can sign up for Part D.

If you're eager to save money this year, reviewing plan premiums, copays and out-of-pocket expenses is crucial. Making the right choice can save you thousands of dollars each year. Medicare recipients need to take a proactive role and become informed. Plans change every year and every plan is different, which can make the process confusing and cost you extra money if you are not careful.

According to a recent analysis from health policy firm Avalere Health LLC based in Washington, D.C., six of the top plans in the Medicare Part D market are raising premiums for their 2012 plans. Some insurance companies are raising the cost of premiums as much as 14%.

To find a plan, search The interactive Medicare Plan Finder helps you compare deductibles and copays for your prescriptions under various plan scenarios. Input your own list of medications to make custom comparisons.

If you don't have access to or know how to use the internet, there are local resources and pharmacies to which you can go for help.

The A.P.P.L.E. Project at Southesast Missouri State University, which is a comprehensive paperwork service which supports the independence of senior adults by providing persons age 60 and older with counseling, advocacy, education and direct assistance with their paperwork needs. They can be reached by calling: (573) 651-5467.

You may also check with your local pharmacy to see if help is available. John's Pharmacy in Cape Girardeau provides assistance to anyone needing help choosing a Medicare Part D plan, regardless of where they fill their prescriptions. You can request help from John's Pharmacy by calling 334-1300 or visiting them at 2001 Independence St. in Cape Girardeau.

Up to 40 different Medicare Part D options exist for Medicare recipients. Before using the Medicare online tools or calling an agency or pharmacy for assistance, list every drug you're taking, including milligrams or dosage, for 30 days.

Once you have narrowed your choices down to the top three or four plans for you, and before making a final decision, it is best to compare total annual drug costs. Totaling premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses are the best way to compare Medicare Part D costs and get an accurate idea of what you will be actually paying for your plan and medication next year.

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