Aarp Urges Seniors To Review, Compare Plans By Year’S End

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AARP is reminding and encouraging seniors to carefully consider their options and choose the coverage that best fits their needs during Medicare open enrollment which closes Dec. 31. 

“It’s important that people look closely at their options as open enrollment is the time to add, drop or make changes to their prescription drug and health care plans for 2011,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona state director. “It’s one of the most important decisions people in Medicare can make as health plans often change from year to year.”

To review options, people in Medicare can use the Medicare Plan Finder, which can be found at www.medicare.gov. This Web site can help people research prescription drug and health plans that will be available in 2011.

AARP also recommends considering the following when considering a change in coverage: costs, including the monthly premium, the annual deductible and cost-sharing; coverage for the doctors and pharmacies included in the plan and the prescription drugs and other services you need; and, Quality Ratings, which are provided for most Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. These ratings are based on the quality of care and customer service each plan provides.

In addition, AARP recently launched an online tool to help people make better prescription drug choices. The online tool is called the AARP Drug Savings Tool, which is available at www.drugsavings.aarp.org. This helpful tool allows users to select the drug they want to compare from Consumer Reports Health’s database of about 500 drugs in 26 drug classes and provides consumers with “Best Buy” recommendations and a discussion sheet to help guide related conversations with their doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional. 

Other AARP resources include the AARP Bulletin December issue which provides a step-by-step guide to comparing drug plans and finding the best plan; a video primer in English and Spanish that explains options available during open enrollment; and a 2011 Medicare Part D fact sheet. All can be found on the AARP Web site at www.aarp.org.

“Open enrollment can also be a good time for people to have a talk with their doctor, especially if they are taking multiple medications,” added Mitchell.

“Your doctor may be able to help you find lower-cost prescription drug options or eliminate prescriptions that are no longer needed. An accurate personal medication record can save you time and money when searching for new Medicare plans.”

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