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Medicare Monday: It’s important to shop around, even if your premium is decreasing next year

Ashley Flint   |     November 14, 2016   |   SHARE THIS

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During this year’s open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, we’ve shared tools and resources to help you make your plan selection and discussed the benefits of switching plans. Today, I wanted to share a personal story to show the importance of reviewing your plan options, even if your current premium may be going down for the upcoming year.

My grandfather is 81 years old and became eligible for Medicare coverage before Part D was implemented. Now that he has prescription drug coverage through Medicare, I help him review his options and make a plan selection each year. Using his current list of medications, I went to the Medicare Plan Finder website to find a plan that will work best for his individual needs.

Heading into next year, the monthly premium in my grandfather’s current plan is actually decreasing by about a dollar, and his total expected costs for the year (premium plus out-of-pocket costs) are also decreasing by about $100. Seemed like a pretty good deal! But I had already entered his information, so I spent a few more minutes browsing through other plan options, and it turns out there was an even better choice. Another plan had a slightly higher monthly premium but much lower total annual costs, saving my grandfather nearly $300 next year.

This is yet another example of how spending a few minutes comparison shopping can pay off, even if costs are going down with your current plan. Over the upcoming holiday season, take a few minutes to comparison shop. Help your family members or loved ones with their Part D plan selection for 2017.

Ashley Flint

Ashley Flint Ashley is a former Senior Director in the Policy and Research Department at PhRMA where she led day-to-day policy analysis related to the Medicare Part D program. Prior to PhRMA, Ashley worked as an Associate at HCM Strategists, a health and education consulting firm. Ashley holds a Masters in public policy from George Washington University, with a concentration in health policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and psychology from Emory University.

Topics: Medicare Monday, Medicare, Part D, open enrollment

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