Can You Save Money by Switching Medicare Plans?
This article was updated on: 10/06/2018
As a Medicare beneficiary, there may be many reasons why you may not take the time to compare or switch Medicare plans. You might think it’s too much work to research and change Medicare plans. You may not even realize how much you could save by switching. However, a recent study by eHealth, Inc., shows that a majority of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare plan with prescription drug coverage could be overpaying.
Switching Medicare plans could save you money
According to a study by eHealth, Inc., only 10% of those enrolled in a Medicare plan with prescription drug coverage were enrolled in a plan that covered their medications at the lowest cost.
The research found that those with a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan could have potentially saved an average of $486 per year by switching to a different Medicare plan. Potential savings were even greater for those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan: these beneficiaries could have potentially saved an average of $807 per year by switching to another Medicare Advantage plan with more optimal prescription drug coverage.
Why you should compare Medicare plans every year
The truth is that not taking the time to compare Medicare plan options could mean paying more in the long run. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, coverage and costs may change annually, including expenses like premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare plan, such as a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, these types of costs may also change from year to year. In addition, Medicare plans may make changes to formularies, provider networks, pharmacy networks, or services you use frequently that could greatly impact your out-of-pocket costs.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare plan, your plan will send two important documents every fall that you should review carefully: the Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and Annual Notice of Change (ANOC).
- The EOC goes over your Medicare plan’s current coverage and cost information
- The ANOC goes over any changes set to go in effect for the following year
If you don’t get these notices by the end of September, contact your Medicare plan. Please note that if your Medicare plan makes changes to its formulary or provider network during the year, the plan will notify you if necessary.
Taking the time to carefully look over these two documents and make changes, if needed, could save you money. For example, if a doctor you use frequently is no longer part of your plan’s provider network, your Medicare plan may no longer cover your office visits. Or, if your Medicare plan increases the copayment for several of the medications you take regularly, your prescription drug costs could quickly skyrocket.
When can I switch Medicare plans?
If you’re thinking of changing Medicare plans, the best time to do so is during the Annual Election Period, which occurs every year from October 15 to December 7. This is your yearly opportunity to take stock of your prescription drug coverage and make sure your current Medicare plan is still working for you in terms of cost and coverage. Outside of the Annual Election Period, you usually can only make changes to your Medicare plan in specific situations.
Would you like to learn more about potential prescription drug savings? If you’re thinking of switching Medicare plans, I can show you some options. Click the link below to schedule a time to discuss your Medicare needs; right next to it, you can also request an email from me with personalized plan information. If you’d rather start browsing now, click the Compare Plans button to get started.
Benefits, premiums and/or copayments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year.
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