Although retirement might seem like it’s supposed to be stress-free, that’s not always the case. Your financial situation could create tough times, especially with rising healthcare costs. Medicare premiums increased significantly going into 2022, leaving many beneficiaries worried about their costs. If you’re approaching Medicare age and will soon complete the Medicare application process, knowing your expected costs and how you can save money while on Medicare is essential.
Shop your Medigap plan
Did you know you could change your Medigap any time of the year if you wanted? Well, it’s true. Medigap plans, also known as Medicare Supplement plans, have monthly premiums that can increase yearly.
If you enroll in a Medigap plan to supplement your Original Medicare, you’ll want to keep an eye out for an annual increase letter from your insurance carrier. These letters can come anytime during the year and vary with each insurance carrier. The letter will state your new monthly premium and should arrive about 30-60 days before the new premium is effective.
Many beneficiaries will want to shop their plan after they receive this letter to see if they can find a more cost-effective carrier in their area. To shop your Medigap plan means looking at other Medigap plans and applying for a more cost-effective one. However, there is a catch.
If you are outside your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment window, you will likely need to answer health questions on the application, which could be denied depending on your health conditions. However, a handful of states have exceptions to this and will allow you to change your plan every year with no health questions asked.
This is a great way to save money while on Medicare, as you can continuously shop for a lower premium plan!
Explore new Medicare Part D and Advantage plans
Many are unaware you can change your Medicare Part D or Advantage plan annually. There are specific enrollment windows that allow you to change your plan, but generally, you are locked into your plan from January to December of every year. So, if your drugs change during the year, you’ll need to wait for an enrollment window to switch to a different plan.
Not only may your drugs change yearly, but Part D and Advantage plans also have changes. You will see changes that include a new premium, deductible, copays, maximum out-of-pocket limits, and more. Therefore, looking at your options each year is advantageous to ensure you have the most cost-effective plan that fits your needs.
Use prescription discounts
Using prescription drug discount programs like Clever Rx can help you save money on your drugs. Many people know or will soon learn that drug costs with Medicare plans can still be expensive. You can use these discount coupons if the coupon is more cost-effective than your copay with your plan. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that you cannot use the coupon in addition to your plan. It would be one or the other.
Only see doctors that accept your plan
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, your plan has a network of providers. Your plan could be either an HMO or PPO plan. HMO plans mean you will have coverage for in-network services completed by in-network doctors, except for emergencies. If you are outside your plan’s service area and see a provider that does not accept your plan, you will be stuck with that bill.
If you have a PPO plan, you can have coverage for in-network and out-of-network services. Therefore, you can be outside your service area and have coverage, but you will pay a higher copay or coinsurance than if you went to someone in-network.
If you want to save money, you should see providers who accept your specific plan.
Take advantage of preventive screenings
Medicare Part B covers about a dozen preventive screenings such as the annual wellness visit, mammograms, colonoscopies, cardiovascular screenings, and more. Preventive screenings generally have a specific frequency for a service which means for it to be covered 100% by Medicare, you must follow that frequency. For example, cardiovascular screenings are covered once every five years with Medicare Part B.
By scheduling these preventive screenings, you aren’t spending any money and can detect health conditions early on!
Who doesn’t love saving money? You can take many steps each year to save money while on Medicare and use those savings for something fun! If you work with a Medicare broker, they can be a one-stop shop for shopping your plans every year.