Has the premium for your Medicare Part D prescription drug policy increased for 2024? Mine has. I recently received notice that my monthly premium would increase by more than 21%, from $28.40 in 2023 to $34.50 in 2024. This increase came on top of a large increase from 2022 to 2023.
With increases occurring in back-to-back years, I decided to see if there was anything I could do to save money on my prescription drug plan.
Examine your current plan’s explanation of benefits
The most recent premium notice prompted me to closely examine the explanation of benefits for my Part D coverage, a notice I receive each month but promptly file away without looking at it. As I reviewed it, I learned that during 2023, the drugs I take will cost me about $750 and that my plan would reimburse me next to nothing due to the deductibles in my plan.
Rather than get mad, I decided to take the following advice: “If your premiums are increasing significantly, shop around to see if you can find another policy with a lower premium and cost.” This advice comes from Diane Omdahl, author of Medicare for You: A Smart Person’s Guide. Omdahl has also served as a technical expert for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the organization that runs the Medicare program.
Omdahl also recommended that I shop online for alternative Part D coverage using Medicare’s helpful Plan Finder.
Medicare’s Plan Finder is easy to use
To get the most from Medicare’s Plan Finder website, I needed to create a login account and take a few minutes to enter my personal information, including the specific prescription drugs that I currently take and the local pharmacy that I typically use.
I then instructed the Plan Finder to show me alternative prescription drug coverages for 2024. Within a few seconds, the Plan Finder had compared my current plan to 21 alternative plans with the following information:
- The monthly premium
- The amount of the deductible
- An estimate of my total out-of-pocket costs for 2024 that considered the specific drugs I take and the plan’s deductible, plus the annual cost of the monthly premiums
- An overall rating of each plan’s quality and performance
The plan rating is based on customer service, consumer complaints, ease of obtaining prescriptions, drug safety, and accuracy of pricing.
The least expensive plan has significant savings with a higher quality rating
Of the 21 alternative plans considered by the Plan Finder, six had an estimated lower overall cost compared to my current plan. The least expensive plan had a total estimated overall cost for 2024 that would be $709 lower than my current plan.
The Plan Finder let me click to learn more details about each alternative plan, including estimates of the out-of-pocket costs for each drug that I take.
It turns out that the least expensive plan has a higher quality rating—three and a half stars out of five—compared to the quality rating of two and a half stars for my current plan. In fact, the three-and-a-half-star rating was the highest rating received among all 22 plans that the Plan Finder analyzed.
It took less than one hour to shop my plan and apply for new coverage
If you decide to change plans, the Plan Finder lets you apply for the new plan online. It fills in the information already on your account and asks a few more questions you’ll need to answer.
All told, it took me less than an hour to create my Medicare account, read and analyze the Plan Finder comparison, and apply for new coverage. With the money I’ll save, in effect, I earned more than $700 per hour!
If I’m not satisfied with the new plan during 2024, then during the 2024 open enrollment period, I can again shop for new coverage.
This experience tells me that reviewing my Part D coverage each year should be part of my “retirement job” to manage my finances for the rest of my life. With just a little effort, I was able to save hundreds for the year.