Overpaying for Medicare Part D

A Medicare card, with several areas of the card obscured to protect privacy. There are separate lines for Part A and Part B, each with its own date. There are no lines for Part C or D, as a separate card is issued for those benefits by the private insurance company.


The title of an article in the journal Health Affairs pretty much says it all:"The Vast Majority Of Medicare Part D Beneficiaries Still Don’t Choose The Cheapest Plans That Meet Their Medication Needs."


According to the author, when the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit began in 2006, a primary concern for some policy makers was whether seniors would be able to make smart choices from among the dozens of competing plans. "Using 2009 Part D data, we found that only 5.2 percent of beneficiaries chose the cheapest plan," they wrote. "Nationwide, beneficiaries on average spent $368 more annually than they would have spent had they purchased the cheapest plan available in their region, given their medication needs."


More than a fifth of beneficiaries spend at least $500 a year more than they need. Co-authors Chao Zhouand Yuting Zhangof the University of Pittsburgh concluded: "Beneficiaries often overprotected themselves by paying higher premiums for plan features that they did not need, such as generic drug coverage in the coverage gap. Our findings suggest that beneficiaries need more targeted assistance from the government to help them choose plans, such as customized communications about the most cost-effective plans that would cover their medication needs."


If you are a Medicare beneficiary or soon will be, why not closely review your Part D options with an eye to finding an affordable choice that still gives you the converge you need?


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