In our last article, “Let’s Create a Medicare.gov Account” we walked you through how to set up your account and talked about all the benefits the website has to offer. One of the benefits of creating your Medicare.gov account is you will be able to shop and compare drug plans during the Annual Election Period in the Fall. By creating the account, you will also be able to save your drug list from year to year, which will make it easier for you to update your drug list and shop your drug plan. Another advantage of creating an account is you won’t have to input your drug list again if you log out and then find that you forgot to list one of your drugs.
Welcome Page — This home page shows your current status and different options.
Go to the top right-hand side of the screen and click “your name.”
Window opens, click “My saved drugs.”
Verify the drugs that are listed are correct. Be sure to check the name of the drug, milligrams, times per day and frequency. If anything needs to be changed click “Edit drug” inside the box of the drug that needs to be changed.
After you verify the current medications listed, click “Add Recently Filled Drugs” for any medication prescribed since the last time that you logged in.
When completed click “Back to My Saved Drugs”
(If you have been prescribed a medication that is not on any of the previous lists, do not forget to add it so you will get an accurate drug comparison.)
When completed click “Start a New Plan Search”
This screen will show you your current plan, your current pharmacy, (you can edit the pharmacy or add additional pharmacies if you wish here), and the prescribed medications that you just verified, corrected and entered.
At the bottom of the page click “Find Plans Now”
A window will open; then click “Select Plan Type”
Mark second bullet, “Drug Plan Part D”, Click apply.
The first plan that you see will be your current plan. Below your plan, you will see a comparison starting with the least expensive” total out of pocket” plan to the most expensive. The search will also place your current plan in the ranking so you can see the plans that are less expensive and more expensive than your current plan.
On the right hand-side, the “Sort Plans By” box should say (Lowest Drug + Premium cost).
You can now select “Plan Details” to view the plan selected to make sure all your medications are covered including any coverage restrictions that might apply to your drugs. Or you can check the box marked added to compare if you would like to compare multiple plans.
Once you have decided on a plan, it is a good idea to call the plan directly to confirm any information you read on Plan Finder, as information may not be completely up to date. The plan phone number is on the top of the first page of the “Plan Details” screen. You can then enroll in the plan directly with the company, or online, or by calling 1-800 MEDICARE. When calling to enroll, make sure you get a confirmation number for your plan.
We would urge you to create your Medicare.gov account now so you can familiarize yourself with the website and be ready for the Annual Election Period, which runs every year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
Mike Zimmer is president of Bay State Insurance Agency Ltd in Centreville. He is available to answer questions regarding Retirement Planning, Medicare and Medicare Supplements Plans. He may be reached at 410-758-1680. For updates and more information, visit the website www.medicaresolutionsforseniors.com and like our Facebook page Bay State Insurance Agency LTD.
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