Don’t Forget to Put Medicare on Your Shopping List!

Are you one of those people that takes a “set it and forget it” approach to your Medicare coverage? Have you been ignoring the onslaught of television commercials talking about open enrollment? If so, please think twice; there are some compelling reasons to revisit your choices now, during the brief open enrollment period that ends December 7th.

Traditional Medicare Plans (Parts A, B and D)

If you are on a traditional Medicare Plan with a Supplement, it can be difficult to make changes to your Supplement Plan (and we are not advocating doing so), but we highly encourage you to shop your Part D (prescription) plan. In a comparison of Medicare Part D prescription prices done by The Senior Citizens League, there were instances where the same drug had a $1,000 price differential between various Part D Plans. For example, if you take Advair (an asthma medication) and your Part D provider was SilverScript Choice, your cost would be $37. That same drug would cost you $1,880 if you were on the AARP Medicare Rx Saver Plus Part D Plan.1 It is definitely worth shopping! This is just one example of significant differences in drug costs from one plan to another.

How can you find out which Drug plan is best?

  • Go to and follow the directions for “Find Health & Drug Plans.”
  • Be prepared to enter the name of each prescription you are taking, the dosage and the number of pills you would take in a month. (If you take a drug twice/day, then instead of 30 pills, you will be asking for 60.)
  • Once you complete your list (each person should do this separately), it will ask you which pharmacies you prefer. Please know that prices and results can vary widely by pharmacy, so put down your two best choices.
  • The results will list the most economical plan both for retail pharmacies and mail order providers. You will be able to compare the results to your current plan and see if the difference is great enough to make a change.
  • If you decide to change, the plan name and number will be listed and the phone number will be available by clicking into that plan. Note that it generally will take 30 – 45 minutes to call to make this change, so be patient! The new provider will contact your existing provider, so you do not have to take any further action.
  • Each spouse should go through this process and choose the plan that is most beneficial for them.

Medicare Advantage Plans (also known as Medicare Part C)

If you are covered by a Medicare Advantage plan (sold by private insurers where everything is bundled) this is the time of year when you can switch from one plan to another. Every year, insurance companies can make changes to Medicare plans that can affect monthly premiums, deductibles, drug costs and the provider and pharmacy networks.

You may want to switch if your health has changed or the prescriptions you are taking are different.  Also, there are some big changes coming in 2019 for some Medicare Advantage plans. Some may offer caregiver support services, adult day care and home support. Since prescriptions are bundled as part of the plan, you want to make sure your plan covers the prescriptions you need.

Remember that a husband and wife can be on different plans. If you are on a Medicare Advantage Plan, we encourage you to do some shopping to make sure you are on the best plan for the services you need and the prescriptions you are taking. Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage Plans generally restrict access to a network of doctors and facilities, may require prior approval to consult a specialist and have co-pays and co-insurance requirements. If you are thinking of switching to a traditional Medicare plan with a Supplement, there are many limitations and we suggest contacting an agent to see if it is possible.

While it’s not quite holiday shopping season yet, Medicare shopping season has already begun. We hope these tips help you make some smart choices. And remember, the deadline to make any changes is December 7!

1. The Senior Citizens League (, “Why You Should Compare Medicare Drug Plans” September 27, 2018.

This article contains general information that is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be constructed as personalized investment advice. Reading or utilizing this information does not create an advisory relationship. An advisory relationship can be established only after the following two events have been completed (1) our thorough review with you of all the relevant facts pertaining to a potential engagement; and (2) the execution of a Client Advisory Agreement. There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed in this article will come to pass.

Strategic Wealth Partners (‘SWP’) is an SEC registered investment advisor with its principal place of business in the State of Illinois. The brochure is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory services, views on the market, and investment philosophy. Any subsequent, direct communication by SWP with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. For information pertaining to the registration status of SWP, please contact SWP or refer to the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website (

For additional information about SWP, including fees and services, send for our disclosure brochure as set forth on Form ADV from SWP using the contact information herein. Please read the disclosure brochure carefully before you invest or send money (

Is It Still A Good Time For You To Invest?
People often ask me, “is now the right time to get into the market?” If I had a crystal ball that told me when to buy and when to sell, I probably would not be writing this piece! With the highest inflation numbers since the 1980s, concerns about an economy potentially in recession, and the most prolonged downturn in stocks since the Great Financial Crisis, there is no question that investors have been challenged this year. The good news is that there are always opportunities for long-term investors with the right plan. Whether you are an experienced investor, have recently come into cash, or are new to the financial markets, below I discuss some things to consider when asking if now is the right time to invest.
Read More
Retiring in a Volatile Market
This week has been another extremely turbulent one in the stock market. While it is never comforting to see large, red numbers, volatility can be even more uncomfortable for recent retirees or those considering retirement. A colleague of mine recently told me that he has seen more of his clients retire in the last two years than in his first ten years of working at SWP. This got me thinking a lot about the notion of retirement. Retirement is a huge life event and adding volatile markets can compound the feeling of uncertainty. In this article, I will share some of the concepts we have been discussing with our clients.
Read More
Strategic Wealth Partners Ranked In Milwaukee Business Journal’s Investment Management Firms List
Strategic Wealth Partners is proud to be listed in the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Investment Management Firms ranking. The list is ranked by firm assets under management from December 31, 2021. “We are so pleased to be included in this list of the largest investment advisors in the Milwaukee area. We first entered the Milwaukee market in 2018 because we saw tremendous potential to combine forces with some outstanding professionals,” says Principal and Co-Founder Neal Price. “Kathy Klein, Joe Thompson, and the entire Milwaukee team are best-in-class. We are excited to expand our presence and become the go-to firm for comprehensive wealth management services in the Milwaukee area.” “Our success comes from a solid and loyal client base who believes in our personalized solutions. Our work on behalf of our clients is far-reaching, but it all comes down to our unique process that is client focused, manages complexity, delivers simplicity, and guides our clients to their goals,” states Wealth Advisor Kathy Klein. Strategic Wealth Partners is an independently managed wealth management firm that has been partnering with clients since 2008 in Deerfield, IL, and since 2018 in Milwaukee, WI. For more information on services, please visit
Read More