This is the time of year when we are inundated with advertisements regarding Medicare. Most of these messages can be ignored, but we highly recommend that you take a few minutes to shop your Part D stand-alone prescription plan if you are on original Medicare (Parts A & B) and you have a supplement.
You currently have until December 7th to change your Part D prescription insurance plan for the next year. It is possible that a new insurance plan could save you substantial dollars in 2024, even if you like your current Part D prescription plan.
Why Do I Need to Re-Shop My Plan?
Two main factors are responsible for the need to shop your plan. First, insurance carriers often change their formularies, which is a list of covered medications. There is a good chance that each prescription you fill will be more or less expensive next year, and there are wide variations between plans. Second, it is possible that the prescriptions you expect to take next year are different than the list you shopped last year, or some brand names are now available as a generic.
Another big change for 2024 is how the Inflation Reduction Act, which is a federal law curbing inflation, reducing health care costs for families, and investing in domestic energy production, will affect which plan is best for you. One of the changes that is being phased in now through 2026 includes Medicare being able to negotiate for lower drug prices on certain prescriptions, including Eliquis, Xarelto, Farxiga, Enbrel, Stelara, Jardiance, Januvia, Entresto, Imbruvica and NovoLog and Fiasp insulins (the list expands through 2029). Other changes include new caps on out-of-pocket spending (starting at $2,000 in 2025), limits on increases in premiums, and drug prices.
How Can I Determine What is the Best Plan for Me?
It is impossible to calculate this on your own, but fortunately, the website Finding Medicare Part D Plans will be very helpful in finding you the best plan. Most insurance agents use this website as well, and they can help you choose a plan. From anecdotal experience, I have seen some clients save a few thousand dollars by choosing a new plan, and others have found that no change is necessary. It is impossible to predict, so we encourage you to use the above Medicare website or contact an insurance agent to shop and compare.
So, when Joe Namath, William Shatner, and Jimmie Walker (“dy-no-mite”) appear in a TV commercial, feel free to literally turn down the noise.
If you have any questions or need guidance on this topic, your health insurance agent should be well-versed and ready to help. Alternatively, the team at SWP is happy to connect you with someone who can find the right solution for you.
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