Part of my Sunday routine is a large cup of coffee and a thick local newspaper. After skimming headlines and reading articles of interest, I turn my attention to those glossy advertisements and begin shopping. I hunt for bargains on things I need and things I don’t need. I tear out coupons that may or not may not make it with me on my next trip to the grocery store. Either way, I feel good about the time I spent preparing to save money.

I think almost everyone would agree it’s smart to plan for the expenses we know are coming and look for ways to save money on them. But when it comes to things like selecting a Medicare Prescription Drug plan, most people lose their shop-to-save mojo.

Part D insurance plans change their formulary for prescription drug benefits every year. If the plan you had this year drops just one of your prescription drugs from its formulary for next year, you could end up paying far more than you need to.

Do your homework and consider these points as you review your Medicare plan options:

  • No one plan is the cheapest for everyone. No one plan has the best benefits. You and your neighbor could join the same plan but end up with very different prescription expenses.
  • Don’t automatically go for low premiums or monthly rebate checks without a thorough comparison.
  • Your current Part D insurance company must disclose changes in their formulary for the next year. Don’t throw these notices away! Read them carefully to see how they will impact you if you choose to stay on that plan.
  • Essential sources of information are still: the official Medicare & You handbook, a place you can look for plans based on your health needs like HealthMarkets, and a licensed insurance agent.

Now is the time to brew a fresh pot of coffee, push those shiny newspaper ads aside and tap into your inner “super shopper” while you review your Medicare Part D options. Doing so now will be time well spent if you end up saving money next year.

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