Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Medicare Open Enrollment is here! Medicare beneficiaries have from October 15th until December 7th to review their health coverage options and make changes that will take effect on January 1, 2023. You may not have to make any changes to your coverage if you’re happy with it, but taking time to review your options could save you money. Open Enrollment is your opportunity to review any changes in coverage and to get help understanding what these changes will mean for you in 2023.
Is Your Part D Prescription Drug Plan Working for You?
Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of your prescription drugs and many shots and vaccines. Each fall enrollees receive an Annual Notice of Change from their prescription drug plan provider that includes any changes in coverage, costs and more, that will be effective in January.
Some of the changes could include:
- Cost of the plan premium, deductible and copayments
- The list of drugs the plan covers
- The classification of certain drugs which could affect your out-of-pocket costs
In 2023, Medicare beneficiaries who need insulin will see significant changes because insulin costs are now capped at $35 per insulin prescription. One of the best ways to review your Part D plan options is with the Medicare Plan Finder. The Medicare Plan Finder on medicare.gov lets you compare and enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan. The Plan Finder lets you enter your drug information so that you can see an estimate of drug costs for the year. You can see how much each drug is covered and whether your pharmacy is giving you the best price for your medications.
Original Medicare vs Medicare Advantage (Part C)
You can choose how you get your Medicare coverage and you have a choice between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.
- Original Medicare includes Part A, Part B, and you can add a Part D prescription plan and a Medigap or supplemental insurance coverage.
- Medicare Advantage is a bundled plan, offered by Medicare-approved private companies, that includes Part A, Part B, and usually your Part D prescription coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can include extra benefits that Medicare usually doesn’t cover like dental, vision, and hearing.
Your choice between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage can affect the doctors you can see and where you go for your heath care. Some people save more money with Original Medicare while others find Medicare Advantage to be more cost-effective. Medicare Advantage plans can be compared on the Medicare Plan Finder to help you choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
Are There Benefits That Can Help Me Save on Medicare Costs?
You are most likely being bombarded with advertisements and mailings promising cost savings and free services but it can be overwhelming and confusing to know if these programs actually do what they claim to do.
Two programs that are available to save on Medicare costs are:
- Medicare Savings Programs – a State Medicaid program that can help to pay Medicare premiums, and possibly deductibles and coinsurance.
- Extra Help (Part D) – a program that helps pay Medicare prescription drug program costs like premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you would like assistance reviewing your options on the Plan Finder, Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselors are available to guide you. The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides local, in-depth, and objective insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers.
Call your local SHIP site for help:
- DuPage County: DuPage County Department of Community Services: (630) 407-6500
- Grundy County: Grundy County Health Department: (815) 941-3121
- Kane County: Senior Services Associates, Aurora: (630) 897-4035; Elgin: (847) 741-0404
- Kankakee County: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet: (815) 933-0111 ext. 266
- Kendall County: Senior Services Associates: (630) 553-5777
- Lake County: Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Chicago: (847) 546-5733
- McHenry County: Senior Services Associates: (815) 356-7457
- Will County: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet: 815-724-1197; Senior Services of Will County: (815) 740-4225