If you are on Medicare or nearing your 65th birthday, you’re likely overwhelmed with all the mail, phone calls, etc. urging you to switch your Medicare supplement plan. Before you dive in, you should know a few key things.
Medicare supplements are tightly regulated. If you have a Plan G plan with one company, it will have exactly the same medical benefits as every other Plan G offered by any other insurance company. However, some companies will include an additional benefit (such as a Silver Sneakers® health club membership). And all companies will communicate directly with Medicare to coordinate with Plan A and B to pay your doctors for out of pocket costs. You are really shopping for low costs, reasonable renewal rates and customer service that is easy to access in the event you need to change your billing address or other simple request.
If you have been on Medicare for more than 5 years, you may have a Plan F. If so, I would recommend you ask your current supplement provider what the cost savings would be for switching to Plan G. The only difference between Plan F and Plan G is the Part B deductible ($198 in 2020). Plan F covers this deductible, but Plan G does not. Several clients have switched from Plan F to Plan G and saved $50 a month in premiums. That is $600 a year less the Part B deductible of $198 for a total savings of $402 annually.
Unless you get a big premium increase on your Medicare supplement which is fairly unusual, most people will not need to shop their supplement each year. However, you should shop your Medicare Rx plan each year and it is very easy to do so. Open enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.
To get started, you will need the full name, dosage and number per day of every medicine you take. You can get this from your pharmacy or just write down the information from your prescription bottles. You will also need to know which pharmacy(ies) you wish to use and whether you want mail order as an option. Then grab your Medicare card and sit down at your computer or tablet.
Follow these steps:
- Go to www.medicare.gov
- Click the Blue Button in the middle of the page that says Log in/Create Account
- If you already have an account, enter your username and password
- If not, select Create an account now. (It’s in blue and just under the words Log in to your account.)
- You will need your Medicare number, email address, date of birth and zip code
- Write down your username and password
- Log in and you will see you your current plan.
- You can then review new plans, select compare
- Select the button for Drug Plan (Part D) and enter your zip code. Click Next
- If you are already on Medicare, it will prepopulate any Rx’s filled during 2020. Delete any drugs you’re no longer taking and Select Find & Add to include any new prescriptions. Click Done Adding Drugs
- Add the name of the pharmacy or pharmacies you prefer to use and select if you’d like the option to use mail order. Then click Done.
- It will show you the estimated yearly cost of your medications plus premiums for your current plan. You can then sort the available plans based on estimated yearly cost and see details for each of your medications.
- Once you find the one that offers you the lowest cost and is also rated 3 or better (our recommendation), you can then enroll and have the premiums deducted from your social security check or enter payment information.
- You will receive your new cards in the mail prior to January 1st.
I realize 14 steps may seem like a lot, but the entire process will take less than 15 minutes. The most time-consuming part is verifying your list of medications. The savings can be substantial. I’ve seen clients save $1,500 - $4,000 per year just by changing their Rx plan.