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8 Tips for Choosing a Medicare Part D Plan

By Maurie Backman - Oct 3, 2022 at 7:00AM
A pile of pills in plastic.

8 Tips for Choosing a Medicare Part D Plan

It's that time of year again

Medicare open enrollment runs between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 every year. During this time, existing enrollees have the opportunity to make changes to their coverage. And if you have a Part D drug plan, you may want to make some changes -- or not. Here are a few tips for choosing the right plan this year.

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1. Assess your satisfaction with your current plan

Does your current Part D plan come with affordable premiums? Do you pay a lot out of pocket for medications? If you're happy with your current plan, you may decide to stick with it -- and that's just fine. But if you're not pleased with your plan, it's definitely wise to look at alternatives.

ALSO READ: 3 Signs You Need a New Medicare Part D Plan

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2. See what changes are coming to your plan

Part D plans can change from year to year. By the time open enrollment starts, you should receive a notice from your plan informing you of any changes for 2023. Read through that information carefully, as it could help you determine whether to stick with your existing plan versus getting a new one.

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3. See if your medications are changing

It may be that your Part D plan isn't changing -- but your needs are. If your medications will be different in 2023, then a different plan may be in order if your current plan doesn't offer great coverage for the pills you need. Sticking with your existing plan could mean facing higher co-pays.

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4. Separate your needs from your spouse's

If you're married, you should know that you and your spouse are not required to enroll in the same Part D drug plan. Take the time to assess your needs individually. You may decide that separate plans are the most cost-efficient solution.

ALSO READ: Married? Here Are 3 Social Security Rules You Need to Know

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5. Use Medicare's plan finder to narrow down your choices

Medicare has a plan finder tool that can help you see what Part D plans are available to you. Better yet, you can input the specific medications you take to see which plans might offer the best coverage. That should make the process of choosing a plan less overwhelming.

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6. Pay attention to plan ratings

Medicare employs a star rating system that can help you figure out which Part D plan is best. All plans are rated from one to five stars. A five-star plan may be worth signing up for, whereas you may want to steer clear of plans with lower ratings.

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7. Make sure your in-network pharmacies work for you

It's not just co-pays and premiums you need to look at when choosing a Part D plan. You also need to make sure your plan has in-network pharmacies that are convenient for you. Better yet, you should also make sure your plan allows you to order prescriptions by mail.

ALSO READ: Is This Major Pharmacy Retailer in Danger of Going Out of Business?

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8. Give yourself plenty of time

Waiting until December to start reviewing your Part D choices could mean having to rush through the process. A better bet? Start early. The more time you give yourself, the less likely you'll be to make the wrong decision.

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Get the coverage you need

Medication costs can be a big expense for seniors. But choosing the right Part D plan could make it so your pills are less expensive. And if you follow these tips, you may find that choosing the best Part D plan isn't as difficult as you thought it would be.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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