Medicare Beneficiaries Miss Out on Money Saving Health Care Plans

While Medicare beneficiaries know that open enrollment is ending earlier this year, most are not planning to shop for new health care plans, according to a study by Harris Interactive for Longevity Alliance. Choosing not to shop around is a mistake, says the study, since doing so offers the opportunity to save money on coverage.

78 Percent of Medicare Beneficiaries Passing on New Plans

More than 9 in 10 (92 percent) of Medicare beneficiaries say they are aware that open enrollment ends on December 7 this year, which is much earlier than last year’s December 31 deadline.

Yet, the national study, which was commissioned by Longevity Alliance and conducted online by Harris Interactive in November 2011 among 310 U.S. adults age 65+, found that only 12 percent plan on taking or have already taken advantage of the opportunity to change their health care plans.

78 percent surveyed said they had no intentions of making the switch and 11 percent said they weren’t sure whether they would switch or not.

Not taking the time to look at what options are available each year is a mistake, says the study. By reviewing one’s own plan and comparing it with others the program offers, Medicare beneficiaries could save hundreds of dollars a year in health care and prescription costs.

Tips for Comparing Health Care Plans

As with comparing any type of health insurance coverage, it’s important that you take time to do so carefully. Longevity Alliance offered three tips for individuals looking to compare their Medicare health care plans during open enrollment:

  • Look beyond the monthly premium: While the monthly premium for a Medicare plan may be low, other factors could increase the overall cost. Longevity Alliance recommends calculating the cost of any deductibles and co-payments into the total cost of the health plan to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Carefully review prescription drug plans: It is recommended that you make sure prescription drugs you take are listed on the formulary (list of drugs and how the plan covers them). Also, you need to know what tier your drugs are in to determine how much you will pay.
  • Compare plans from several companies: It’s a good idea to compare plans from several companies to feel confident that you’ve found the right one for your health care needs in 2012.

Shopping around for health care plans is an important step when the option comes available to renew your insurance coverage. Even if you don’t think you want to leave your current Medicare plan, it’s a good idea to look around anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.