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For those of us caring for the elderly parents and relatives in our families, some of the big news topics for boomers and seniors being discussed these days includes Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance. On Thursday, I featured guest author, Ross Blair, President and CEO of Plan Prescriber, and the first of his two-part guest post for SandwichINK, with important news and information for all of us boomers and seniors dealing with these topics. Today, it's part 2 with three more tips and information to help us with practical ways to save money on Medicare:
- It’s critical to compare drug coverage: A 2011 PlanPrescriber.com report looked at 25,000 user sessions on its website during the 2011 annual enrollment period (between Nov. 15, 2010, and Dec 31, 2010), where customers entered their zip code, their existing Medicare prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage drug plan and the names, dosages and frequency of any prescription drugs they were taking, if any. The site’s prescription drug plan comparison tool found that, on average, a user could save more than $500 per year – more than $40 per month – by reviewing their options and changing their prescription drug plan. Don’t miss this important step heading into 2012
- You can fill in Medicare’s gaps: People concerned about some of the gaps in original Medicare have the option to enroll in insurance products regulated by the government but provided by private companies. These are products designed specifically to fill some of the different gaps in Medicare. They include: Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans, which cover the cost of most prescription drugs; Medicare supplement plans, which cover portions of the deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket costs not covered by original Medicare; and Medicare Advantage plans, which bundle together the Part D drug benefit with some additional coverage for deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket costs. Each type of supplemental coverage has different guidelines for when you can enroll, change and cancel your coverage
- Get “star power” in 2012. The Affordable Care Act (health reform) requires a star rating system to be used for Medicare Advantage plans, beginning in 2012. Plans get a rating of 1 to 5, with a 5-star rating equating to an “Excellent Performance,” and a 1-star rating equating to a “Poor Performance.” According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2011 out of 523 plans nationwide, only three received an overall rating of 5, and 74 received an overall rating 4 or 4.5 stars. Heading into 2012 the hope is that more plans will achieve this high 5-star rating. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a 5-star plan, consider it as an option for your coverage. One benefit of a 5-star plan is that you can enroll in it any time, even outside of Medicare’s annual enrollment period.
I'm definitely going to be looking into that "star power" in 2012 and making some other checks, thanks to this information. Thank you again to guest writer, Ross Blair, President and CEO of Plan Prescriber, a leading provider of comparison tools and education materials for Medicare-related insurance products.
P.S. And as I noted on Thursday, it's always vital for all of us in the Sandwich Generation to double-check all facts and information with our own doctors, attorneys, and medicare personnel. Per Mr. Blair, "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information provided by PlanPrescriber. " And again, I am very pleased to let you know that PlanPrescriber is an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating. 🙂
P.P.S. Happy Pink Saturday 🙂