Open Period

 

Greetings all,

For those of us here on Medicare (why do I think we may be a majority of POIFacotry users?) with a Part D drug insurance plan, remember that Open Period for changing plans starts in a week. In the few years I've been enrolled, I've switched to what would be a better Part D plan for me once, and it appears that I'll be doing it again for 2018 as well. For those of you with a Part D plan, be sure to check the Medicare Find A Plan site and check your current plan's offerings and costs for next year and compare it to the other available plans. If you're like me, a change may be beneficial almost 50% of the time.

The process to change plans is so very easy. Be sure to note if a new plan's Preferred Pharmacy choices changes since it could require a change of your best choice for a pharmacy to maximize your savings.

Sincerely, CraigW, your old retired pharmacist/alchemist twisted

Thank you

CraigW wrote:

Greetings all,

For those of us here on Medicare (why do I think we may be a majority of POIFacotry users?) with a Part D drug insurance plan, remember that Open Period for changing plans starts in a week. In the few years I've been enrolled, I've switched to what would be a better Part D plan for me once, and it appears that I'll be doing it again for 2018 as well. For those of you with a Part D plan, be sure to check the Medicare Find A Plan site and check your current plan's offerings and costs for next year and compare it to the other available plans. If you're like me, a change may be beneficial almost 50% of the time.

The process to change plans is so very easy. Be sure to note if a new plan's Preferred Pharmacy choices changes since it could require a change of your best choice for a pharmacy to maximize your savings.

Sincerely, CraigW, your old retired pharmacist/alchemist twisted

Thanks, Craig. I've been collecting a stack of mail offering various plans and plan to start going through them probably next week. We do have a Plan D and a Plan B as well and will be reviewing everything.

Phil

--
Phil in Mentor, Ohio -- Garmin Nuvi 1450

Instructions

Having some experience in doing this I offer the following

Start out by going to
https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

In the General Search box, enter your zipcode, and then click "Find Plans".

On the "Step 1 of 4: Enter Information" page, select "I don't know what coverage I have" and "I don't know" (the last entries to each of the two questions) and then click "Continue to Plan Results".

On the "Step 2 of 4: Enter Your Drugs" page, in the "Type the name of your drug:" section, start entering the names of the drugs that you take. The system will give you some choices to select and when you find yours, you will be asked to enter (1) Dosages, (2) Quantity, (3) Frequency, and (4) Pharmacy Type.

Once all this is entered, then click "Add drug and dosage"

Keep cycling through adding drugs until you are able to click "My Drug List is complete"

BUT - before you click "My Drug List is complete", make a note of your "Drug List ID" and the Password Date". these will be handy when you come back to this website at a later date.

On the "Step 3 of 4: Select Your Pharmacies" page, adjust the distance to your pharmacy (assuming it is within 6 miles) to be able to select a pharmacy or click the "Select New Location or by Pharmacy Name" link to be able to select your pharmacy. The click "Add Pharmacy". Once done, click "Continue to Plan Results".

On the "Step 4 of 4: Refine Your Plan Results" page, select the "Prescription Drug Plans (with Original Medicare)" option and then click "Continue to Plan Results".

You should now see all of the Drug Plans.

Already been checking out the new plans

I will probably stay with what I have since it appears that there is nothing better out there at this time. My doctors co-pay has went down once again and nothing has really changed on the prescription deductibles or on the medications that are available. shock

--
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. ----George Washington

Seaches

jgermann wrote:

In the General Search box, enter your zipcode, and then click "Find Plans"....

BUT - before you click "My Drug List is complete", make a note of your "Drug List ID" and the Password Date". these will be handy when you come back to this website at a later date...

Yes. that's pretty much what I do with one exception. By doing a "Personalized Search" rather than a "General Search," your drug list will be kept and the following year when you do your next search, your drug list is remembered and available without having to write down the Drug List ID and Password Date from a year earlier and potentially lose or forget where you stored it, forcing you to recreate the drug list.

I thought the same thing

maddog67 wrote:

I will probably stay with what I have since it appears that there is nothing better out there at this time. My doctors co-pay has went down once again and nothing has really changed on the prescription deductibles or on the medications that are available. shock

I thought the same thing when I saw that for 2018, my current plan's monthly Part D drug insurance premium would rise a small $3-ish dollars while my drugs remained in the same Tiers with the same copays, deductibles, etc. if I continued into 2018 with my current 2017 plan. Just to prove to myself that I could stick with my 2017 plan for 2018, I went to the Medicare Find A Plan site and rechecked by Part D options for 2018. I found a better plan for me meaning that if I switch, the monthly premium will be 59% less and one of my two long-term maintenance drugs would switch from a $8/3-month copay Tier 2 to a $0/3-month Tier 1 drug. I'm waiting for the Find A Plan site to offer the "stars" for the various plans but at this time, I expect it most likely that I'll be switching insurance plans (and switching pharmacies). It also means that if I make the switch, I'll be going from primarily a mail order pharmacy to a local pharmacy while maintaining the ability to get 90-day prescriptions. Additionally, with the switch I'll have a single pharmacy for everything rather than a mail order pharmacy for my long-term drugs and a local pharmacy for my short-term prescriptions that I may receive in 2018.

Once the Open Period starts in a week, the swap from one Part D plan to another is simple as pie. Actually, I'm not a great pie crust maker so switching Part D plans is simpler than pie!

I'm wading through that disaster now.

I already have Part A and have been looking at Part C. I only have 2 choices for the medicare advantage Part C. I just applied for Part B, but that becomes a mail it in or take it to the SS office. The Part D drug becomes a non issue for me because, thankfully, I'm not on any meds.

--
Nuvi 2460LMT.

On meds or not, the Part D

On meds or not, the Part D premiums can increase 15% or more if you don't take it when you are eligible.

--
Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

Correction

CraigW wrote:

...I found a better plan for me meaning that if I switch, the monthly premium will be 59% less...

Whoops, 59% sounded too good to be true so I double checked the rates and arithmetic. My 2018 savings on the monthly premium by switching plans would be a 38% smaller payment (62% of the old plan's 2018 rate). redface

Medical condition

If you don't do that upfront, don't you also risk to be denied or get increased premiums for medical pre-existing conditions? I know the Medical Supplement insurance does that. What about part D/

Canadian and trying to figure out what the heck you guys are try

This Canadian can't make sense of what you guys are trying to figure out. Don't understand your Medicare.

Is this for prescriptions, doctors or what?

Never had to do anything like this.

--
NUVI2555LMT, NUVI350

phranc is correct

jale wrote:

If you don't do that upfront, don't you also risk to be denied or get increased premiums for medical pre-existing conditions? I know the Medical Supplement insurance does that. What about part D/

Phranc nailed it. Yes there are penalties and the bad part about them is that they are permanent:

https://www.medicare.gov/part-d/costs/penalty/part-d-late-en...

I wondered

GPSgeek wrote:

This Canadian can't make sense of what you guys are trying to figure out. Don't understand your Medicare.

Is this for prescriptions, doctors or what?

Never had to do anything like this.

Ha, I wondered how long it'd take for a non-US response.

Medicare is for eligible US citizens over 65. Medicare comes as A, B, C, and D. If choosing C, it replaces A&B and can also include D. The Open Period about to start this year is when C and D policies can be switched freely. I started this thread discussing D, the drug insurance plan, but it also applies to C, the Medicare Advantage plan.

So the short answer is that Part D is the optional drug coverage insurance available to citizens beginning at age 65.

Be glad that you don't have to understand this. Then consider that this whole Medicare discussion is less confusing than the insurance options for those under age 65 in the US, at least in my opinion.

Good luck. Sounds complicated.

CraigW wrote:
GPSgeek wrote:

This Canadian can't make sense of what you guys are trying to figure out. Don't understand your Medicare.

Is this for prescriptions, doctors or what?

Never had to do anything like this.

Ha, I wondered how long it'd take for a non-US response.

Medicare is for eligible US citizens over 65. Medicare comes as A, B, C, and D. If choosing C, it replaces A&B and can also include D. The Open Period about to start this year is when C and D policies can be switched freely. I started this thread discussing D, the drug insurance plan, but it also applies to C, the Medicare Advantage plan.

So the short answer is that Part D is the optional drug coverage insurance available to citizens beginning at age 65.

Be glad that you don't have to understand this. Then consider that this whole Medicare discussion is less confusing than the insurance options for those under age 65 in the US, at least in my opinion.

Good luck. It sounds really complicated.

I'll leave it at that.

--
NUVI2555LMT, NUVI350

Just Premium Penalties

jale wrote:

If you don't do that upfront, don't you also risk to be denied or get increased premiums for medical pre-existing conditions? I know the Medical Supplement insurance does that. What about part D/

Part D just adds premium penalties for late enrollment.

--
Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

Good thought

GPSgeek wrote:

Good luck. It sounds really complicated.

I'll leave it at that.

A good thought because we haven't even touched on Medigap policies which anyone with just A&B (and optionally D) should add. Of course, with C, no Medigap is needed. razz

guess i need to start

guess i need to start looking this stuff over

If you are a Vet, Look at VA

After my Heart Surgery I had to take high dollar Cholesterol drugs, at that time it was about $300 after deductible for 90 day. Went to VA and same for $16 total for 90 day, plus it counts as your Part D. Still keep Humana as back up but VA takes care of 4 out 5, I just pay the $10 for my Rat Poison out of pocket. VA wont give me that unless they monitor and I like self monitoring which they don't do.

Medicare

is complex and it isn't perfect, but how lucky we are to have it during our retirement years. With the ongoing decline of unions and their protections of worker benefits, it became common in the US for working folks (before the ACA) to have little or no access to health insurance during their working years. So when they turned 65, Medicare was a huge improvement over what they had before.

--
Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 51LMT-S, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

Medicare is great for us seniors.

I'm just glad I am still of sound mind and body to wade through this mess. And, yes, I'm aware I have to take part D which is included in the Part C I am looking at.

--
Nuvi 2460LMT.

I think I'll have to start

I think I'll have to start looking at this again. Every year more or less I have to do it for my parents. It's even harder for me because they don't have a clue and I barely understand the tip of it. At least for those doing it for yourself, you have a better clue. Good tips in the earlier posts and thanks for the reminder.

This is still the best place

This is still the best place to look. https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

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Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

Also...

check out the "Medicare Advantage" programs, there are some with zero premiums. I have one from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and I don't pay any monthly premium.

--
Garmin Nuvi 765T, Garmin Drive 60LM

Yes indeed

Jery wrote:

check out the "Medicare Advantage" programs, there are some with zero premiums. I have one from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and I don't pay any monthly premium.

Yup, that's the first big question a new enrollee needs to make. Should you go traditional Medicare (Parts A, B, and optionally D plus an optional Medigap policy) or do your go Medicare Advantage (Part C plus an optional Part D if the C doesn't include drugs)? Given pros and cons for each, it's rarely an easy decision.

As another Canuck, a question?

Do you guys have to do that every year?

I suppose I/We in Canuckistan should count our blessings for "Universal" healthcare. I am not sure, but I think it costs me less than Cdn $ 2,000.00 per year and if you're older than 65 the provincial government pays for most prescriptions after a yearly $ 100.00 deductible.

I have a woman friend in Wisconsin and her monthly health insurance costs her $ 900.00. Another I know still working in Iowa pays about $ 600.00 a month. YIPES !!!!!!!

--
Nuvi 350 long gone, Nuvi 855LMT, Nuvi 2797LMT, DriveSmart 50 LMT-HD, 3790LMT now my daughters. Using Windows 10. DashCam A108C with GPS.

No, but...

Melaqueman wrote:

Do you guys have to do that every year?

No, we don't have to do this every year, but...!

...but by not reviewing and potentially swapping the Medicare Part C or D plans during Open Period every 12 months, we will go into the next calendar year with a renewal of our current plan which may or may not be the best option for each of us. Only with a review will we know what to do.

I admit I can do this now and even sort of enjoy it. But I do think of others and also think of me at a future date when I'm unable to process all this information and wish there was a better solution. Of course, here in the States, everyone thinks they have a better solution, if only they could convince everyone else that their solution is the best. I'll stop now to avoid comments that could freeze or delete the thread. wink

Only $300

Melaqueman wrote:

Do you guys have to do that every year?

I suppose I/We in Canuckistan should count our blessings for "Universal" healthcare. I am not sure, but I think it costs me less than Cdn $ 2,000.00 per year and if you're older than 65 the provincial government pays for most prescriptions after a yearly $ 100.00 deductible.

I have a woman friend in Wisconsin and her monthly health insurance costs her $ 900.00. Another I know still working in Iowa pays about $ 600.00 a month. YIPES !!!!!!!

I'm still not using my RRSP, and two day a week minimum wage job. It cost me $300 and that coveted my wife and me for Medical.

I have supplemental coverage for dental, drugs not coveted by province, travel etc and about $3500 total for wife and me.

--
NUVI2555LMT, NUVI350

Not Always

Melaqueman wrote:

Do you guys have to do that every year?

I suppose I/We in Canuckistan should count our blessings for "Universal" healthcare. I am not sure, but I think it costs me less than Cdn $ 2,000.00 per year and if you're older than 65 the provincial government pays for most prescriptions after a yearly $ 100.00 deductible.

I have a woman friend in Wisconsin and her monthly health insurance costs her $ 900.00. Another I know still working in Iowa pays about $ 600.00 a month. YIPES !!!!!!!

Don't have to, but you may discover that Meds changes or health changes my result in needing more or less coverage at a change in premiums.

--
Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267