Adviser available for Medicare

October 9, 2018

MADISON -- Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription drug plans are highly encouraged to check each year during the annual enrollment period for their best plan for the following year.

A Jefferson County elder benefits specialist is being made available to assist people with their Medicare information needs.

The annual enrollment period runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Because plans can change their premium, deductible and drug coverages each year, there is no advantage to remain in a plan if another plan provides the same prescription coverage for less money. There is also no advantage for a couple to be enrolled in the same plan. The best plan for each individual depends on the specific prescriptions and dosages he or she takes. Also, each pharmacy negotiates its reimbursements with the Part D plans.

The Medicare Plan Finder on www.medicare.gov makes it possible to check all Part D plans offered within a zip code at the same time. It can be used to compare the available plans during the annual enrollment period or when a person first becomes eligible for Part D.

While a general search by zip code can be made, use the personalized search to get specific results and compare plans. Enter the Medicare claim number and other requested information. Then enter prescription information. This includes the exact medication name and dosage. It makes a difference if an individual takes a brand name drug or a generic form of it. If a prescription is filled for 90 days, it is recommended to show the amount for 30 days. For prescriptions taken “as needed,” use an estimate of monthly use. This list of prescriptions is retained online so it can be accessed and updated in future years.

Then choose up to two pharmacies to compare costs. The results will show the current plan’s cost in 2018 as well as the other available plans listed in order of total cost. To get a side-by-side comparison, select “Prescription Drug Plan (with original Medicare)” plus the current plan and two other plans. Ratings are provided for each plan with five stars being the highest. If an individual chooses to change plans, they can enroll online immediately in the new plan and receive confirmation. Plan contact information is provided if a person chooses to enroll later.

Help with the Plan Finder will be provided for the first time in Lake Mills at the L.D. Fargo Public Library at 120 E. Madison St. by State Health Insurance Program volunteers who work with the Jefferson County elder benefits specialist. Assistance will be provided Oct. 24 and Nov. 28, from 1-5 p.m. on each date. To make an appointment for assistance on one of these dates, call the Jefferson County Aging and Disability Resource Center at 920-674-8734. People will need to bring the completed plan finder form sent to them by the ADRC or their Medicare card and a detailed prescription list that includes the exact medication names and dosages.

For Jefferson County residents who want help at other times, call the ADRC for assistance. Residents of other counties should contact their own ADRC if help if needed.

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