Medicare Open Enrollment – comparing your options

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October 15 to December 7 is your window to select a Medicare plan. Let us help.

Medicare Open Enrollment for your 2017 plan is from October 15 to December 7, 2016.   Before you make a selection, here are some resources to help you compare your options.

Medicare provides a tool where you can compare options before you make a decision. You can find it at this link.

The information you need is:

  • Your Medicare number
  • If you have a Medigap or Medicare supplement plan, the name and type of the plan
  • Your zip code
  • A list of your medicines prescribed by each of your doctors
  • The name and location of your preferred pharmacy

You can search through options using your specific information or you can do a general search. I highly recommend you perform a search with your specific information at least once before you make final decisions. That will give you the best look at your anticipated likely costs.

The tool will walk you through step by step.

  1. It starts with your zip code and information from your Medicare card.
  2. Enter your current Medicare coverage type. Include whether you get extra help paying for your medication costs.
  3. Enter your prescribed medicines. Include the strength, whether you get your medicine every month or every 3 months, and whether you get your medicines from a local pharmacy or a mail order pharmacy.
    1. Be sure to include all of your medicines
    2. If your doctor has talked about maybe starting new medicine, include these, too. This will make sure the plan you choose will cover all of these medicines.
  4. Select your pharmacy. Note, if your pharmacy doesn’t show up at first, expand the number of miles from your home so that your pharmacy will be on the list.
  5. You can then choose whether you want to compare medication only Medicare D plans, Medicare Health Plans with drug coverage, and Medicare Health Plans without drug coverage.
    1. If you aren’t sure, select all three options
    2. If you know which you want to compare, select just that option
  6. A list of all options will appear on the next page. They appear in order of cost with the lowest annual cost option appearing first after Original Medicare. You have the option to select different sort options.
  7. Select three plans that you want to directly compare.
    1. The three options will be displayed side by side.
    2. You can compare three at a time as many times as you want.
    3. All costs for the year include deductibles, co-pays, gap payments, and other fees will be displayed.
    4. Look at your total annual cost
    5. Look at the deductible which is money you will pay at the first part of the year
    6. Look at the projected money you will pay in the coverage gap

To look at your options with Medigap plans, you can go to this link. This one will let you compare types of Medigap plans and their costs.

NOTE – A friend, and expert in the field, clarified that Medicare Advantage plans can be purchased at any time. Her comment: “Medicare Supplement policies do not have an annual open enrollment, but changes can be made based on your health after your original open enrollment or a special enrollment period.”

If you have any questions about how to use these tools or how to compare your options, please contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

For Medicare plan decisions, comparisons are good. They are key to making the best decision.

In the rest of your life, comparisons can be hazardous. How often do you compare yourself to someone else? You might not even realize you’re doing it.

Do you ever have negative thoughts about yourself when you see something you admire in someone else?

Do you ever feel extra good about yourself when you can do something that someone else can’t do?

In what sneaky ways can ENVY enter your thoughts?

I’ve read a couple of really good blogs about this from pastors recently. I know I’m guilty of comparison without ever intending for it to happen. I fall into a thought process of envy or comparison then catch myself and feel so ashamed.

Apparently I’m not alone. There are many Bible verses about the problems with envy.

Galatians 5:26 ESV

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

1 Peter 2:1 ESV

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

Instructions in the Bible can be very clear. It is clear ENVY is to be avoided. And if it’s mentioned this many times, it must be common.

Titus 3:3 ESV

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

James 3:16 ESV

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

The antidote to envy is to lay it all before the Lord. God has a very special, very specific plan just for you. Your gifts, your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, your looks, your dreams are very UNIQUELY yours.

It doesn’t matter how other people are blessed. There are other blessings that are all for you!

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 ESV

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

This could be the week to turn your eyes from what everyone else has. Instead, look at what God has in store just for you. Ask, He’d be happy to show you all the good things you have and what is still coming you way!!

Blessings,

Michelle

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