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Medicare Open Enrollment
We are seven (7) days away from open enrollment and most of the plan information has been released.  I had expected most plans to make some minor changes, but that was wrong.  What customers are going to see this open enrollment is that two of the biggest Medicare Advantage providers have taken the $0 premium plans and added some premium costs.  The AARP UnitedHealthcare plans have added small increase of premium to the Medical portion of the plan but added a larger increase to the drug portion of the plans.  Humana has a larger increase in the premium and a smaller increase for the drug portion.  What this means for you this year, is to look at the plans carefully for benefits that may have been overlooked when getting a $0 premium plan in past Medicare Open Enrollments
 Things like copays, networks and added benefits start to become important when considering plans to ensure that you are getting the most value for your premium dollar.  When choosing a new plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period it is very important that you check what physicians and facilities are in-network, this has been a very big problem with customers in the past and can give a very bad surprise when the billing comes through.

Whis some Medicare Advantage plans include Part D prescription drug coverage, some do not and must be combined with a stand alone plan.  The costs for the Part D plans seem to be ever increasing making it important to shop how and where you get your prescriptions filled.  Most drug plans offer reduced copays and deductibles for mail order of 9
 90 day supplies, and very low copays and no deductible for generics.  Generic drugs dont always work well for everyone but it could definitely be worth trying to see if they work for you.  Please discuss this with your doctor and get his/her imput on what the downside or problems with making a change to your prescriptions could be.  Your health is not worth saving a few dollars!  Another important process to complete when comparing plans, is to check the formulary to verify that your prescription will be covered by the plan.  The Part D plans are not all equal and what might be a tier 2 drug with on plan or company could be a tier 3 with another which would increase your copy and possibly add a deductible.  

With premiums on the rise you as a consumer need to shop for the most value for the dollar and take control of your Healthcare spending to reduce costs and get the most out of your Medicare Health Plan.  I am not saying to skimp on your healthcare, just the opposite, by being a smart shopper and controlling costs that are in your control you will be more aware of what is happening with your health plan and where your hard earned money is being spent.  

When it is open enrollment season, that means it is also football season, and the packers seem to be a different team every week.  They beat a very bad Minnesota Vikings team the way they should have and had a nice comeback victory over the bears, but what does that prove?  When we played the hated Seattle Seahawks the looked like a high school
   team, and were just out classed.  The coaches are saying that the team is just finding its identity and that might be true, but I thought that was what for training camp was for.  They might be right and I will be there cheering every week, but I dont see any SuperBowl caliber play at the moment, none the less GO PACK GO!
Part D
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