Group Health Insurance
Health care reform
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Individual Health Insurance
Long Term Care Insurance
Medicare related coverage
10-28-2017 by Colleen King
It's that time, the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) also known as Open Enrollment. This is the time of year you can make changes to your Part D drug plan and Medicare Advantage plans for the coming year, 2018. And it ends December 7th pretty much without exception for most people. Every year I do a mailing to my Medicare clients advising them of this, to have them send me a list of their current medications and their preferred pharmacy so i can check.
But many people will say they don't need to check, they were happy with the plan this year, they're just going to keep it. But I like to check anyway. Plans change, a person's medications may change and they may not remember that from 10 months ago. What drugs are covered and at what copay level, which pharmacies are contracted, are they a preferred or a standard contract? That could affect what people are going to pay for their medications. The cost of the plan itself may be going up, some actually went down a little this year. The cost for Part D drug plans this year range from $19.70/month to $169.80/month--most of my clients are on plans in the $25-$40 range, more expensive is not necessarily better.
For some of my clients that I've done checks on, I've found they can save money over the course of the year if they do change. Is it worth changing for a savings of $50-$60 over the course of a year? Most of my clients won't change for that, but some will. But I have clients who will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by changing, and are really surprised when they see that.
And there's no financial incentive to move people. The way agents are compensated for Part D drug plans, if a client is already on a plan, whether we move them or keep them on the same plan, it's a flat $36. So if I'm suggesting a change, or pretty much most agents who do these, it's because we think it could benefit our clients.
So in short, I'm going to keep on checking.