5 tips for 2011 Medicare enrollment

Examine Part D coverage more closely
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Examine Part D coverage more closely

Medicare Part D plans were also streamlined this year -- and some plans had rate hikes.

Individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $85,000 will pay anywhere from $12 to $69.10 per month more for Part D next year. One solution is switching to Medicare Advantage, which usually covers prescription drugs.

But this year, everyone should re-examine their Part D coverage. The objective: making sure you're getting the best price and most benefits. Some of the largest Part D plans are increasing their premiums, on average, at least 10 percent, according to a study by Avalere Health. Meanwhile, less-expensive plans are also making an entrance this year, says Baker.

However, the lowest-cost Part D plans aren't always the right ones, according to Allsup. The advisory firm suggests scrutinizing Part D coverage. What are the costs? What drugs are covered? Does your plan restrict medications?

"Comparing Part D costs can be tricky," says Rother. "You don't always know your out-of-pocket expenses." Fortunately, Part D options are plentiful, with more than 1,100 available plans.




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