Tuesday, May 11

Why you should review your options as Medicare open enrollment ends

While the insurers are federally regulated, the specifics can vary greatly from plan to plan, county to county and year to year. Changes can affect things such as your premiums, deductibles, co-pays, covered services and participating doctors and other providers.

Also, look closely at your prescription drug coverage, whether through an Advantage Plan or a standalone Part D plan. Even if your premium goes down, the price of certain drugs could be higher for you.

Monthly premiums for Part D prescription plans will be lower on average for 2019 coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, falling to $32.50 in 2019 from $33.59 this year.

Nevertheless, Gavino has a client whose Part D costs were $305 for 2018, including his premiums and co-pays. For 2019, if the client were to remain with his plan — with no change in the medicine he takes — his out-of-pocket cost would jump to $2,033.

You can check medication prices through the government’s Medicare Plan finder.

To make sure your doctor, pharmacy or other provider is still in network, you have to check with the insurance company that offers the plan. You can either visit the provider’s website or call. And if you work with a Medicare agent, that person also should be prepared to help you.

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