When to switch prescription drug plans

Upon turning 65, seniors are afforded many of life's opportunities not previously accessible, such as Medicare. Part A of this health care coverage is free and easy to sign up for, while Part B requires a premium and deductible. Part D prescription drug plans are supplemental insurance plans that can be added to Part A and B and can help seniors pay for their medications. However, these plans tend to change every year, which means seniors need to look into switching or updating their coverage options.

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
During the open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 through December 7 each year, seniors can switch their prescription drug plan, drop or add a plan to get coverage. Because Part D plans can have premiums that can change from year to year, seniors are encouraged to look into policy options annually to ensure they are not overpaying.

However, not all seniors do this, according to a recent report by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, most retirees are adverse to the idea of changing their prescription drug plan, or even looking into other options. The report found that most seniors feel more comfortable with their current plans and want to continue getting medication coverage from their provider.

"People sign up for their plan maybe when they first come on Medicare, and they stay on their plan unless premiums really jump through the roof," Tricia Neuman, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told U.S. News. "It takes a big deal for people to make a change and insurers know that, so they can kind of raise their premiums, but not so much, if they want to keep people in their plan."

The case for switching
While not all seniors need to switch their Medicare Part D plans, it is worth it to take a look at other options at least once a year. Medicare premiums are typically very affordable, but seeking out the best policies for the right price when plans are subject to change can help with financial planning for seniors. In addition to policy changes each year, medical needs can similarly change and seniors may require different medications over time. Because Part D prescription drug plans are based on which medications they cover, it is advantageous for seniors to switch plans when their needs change. 

During every annual enrollment period, seniors should review their current plan, as well as take a look at other plans that may offer more affordable coverage for the drugs they need. Specifically, seniors should look at premium prices, copays and deductibles. Of course, it is most important to find a plan that covers the right drugs, so seniors should ensure their selected plan provides the best coverage options.

For assistance about prescription drug plans, seniors should visit MySeniorHealthPlan.com for quick, simple and easy information.