10 Must-Know Tips for Medicare Beneficiaries in 2021!
Learn how to save money on Medicare and make sure you’re getting the most out of your coverage in 2021. Let’s get started with these 10 top tips.
- Check your Medicare Part D drug plan’s pharmacy network. When you use a pharmacy, make sure that it’s in-network to avoid overpaying for your prescriptions.
- Use your plan’s “preferred” pharmacies. Prices can range in the hundreds of dollars between preferred and standard pharmacies. Double-check to make sure. You can also save big by ordering through mail-order prescriptions.
- Try grocery store pharmacies for bigger savings. Forbes writer Diane Omdahl found that major chain grocery stores often offer preferred retail cost-sharing. Try yours and see.
- Check your mail. Be on the lookout for any changes from your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan. Plans can make changes throughout the year on coverage and costs. Medicare drug plans can drop coverage of a brand-name drug if a generic becomes available, for example.
- Take advantage of the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period. This relatively new open enrollment period runs from January 1 through March 31. During this time, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare.
- Talk to your doctor about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Americans 75 and older are eligible for the vaccine now, and the next phase will include seniors 65 and older. Talk to your doctor about options in your area. Medicare will cover the vaccine completely. Be sure to go to a pharmacy that accepts Medicare payment and is in your plan’s network.
- Sign up for Medicare on time. If you are on the road to Medicare, your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is based on your 65th birthday. To steer clear of long-term financial penalties, make sure you know what you have to choose—and by when. If you or your spouse is still working when you turn 65 and your insurance meets certain requirements, it may make sense for you to delay enrollment in Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, and Medicare Part D.
- Plan ahead for job changes. If you plan to leave your job in 2021 and will therefore lose your group health coverage, make sure to sign up for Medicare in a timely manner. In that situation, you’ll have a special enrollment period that lasts eight months and begins the month after your group health coverage ends. The sooner you sign up, the more likely you are to avoid a coverage gap and any penalties or late fees.
- Ask for help. You don’t have to do this on your own. You can get help from trusted sources that can help you think through your options and compare plans. From State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) to various organizations that support senior citizens, there are additional resources to help you make the right decisions when it comes to understanding your Medicare plan. You can also reach out to various Medicare beneficiaries at the Medicare World Facebook page, where several fans have shared feedback about various Medicare issues.
- Watch out for Medicare scams. Be on the lookout for scams and do not answer the phone for unsolicited callers. Keep your Social Security number and Medicare number safe and don’t share them with anyone you do not know.