If you are a senior citizen, or caregiver for a senior, right now is a critical time for your health benefit planning.   From October 15 – December 7 seniors must review their Medicare Part D prescription drug plan coverage.

This once-a-year opportunity allows seniors to review any changes in costs, benefits and coverage which will take effect on January 1, 2014.   Many seniors experience changes in their healthcare needs, especially their prescription medications.  If seniors do not review all of their options for Part D plans, they can be automatically re-enrolled in a plan which may no longer be the right plan for their health needs.

This year it is critical that seniors not get confused by the federal Healthcare Marketplaces which are a part of the Affordable Care Act. These Marketplaces offer coverage for people under the age of 65. Eligible seniors will still obtain coverage through Medicare.

Medicare beneficiaries should review their coverage options with regard to premiums, deductibles, drug costs (including coverage in the “donut-hole” coverage gap), co-payments, convenience, plan satisfaction, and preferred pharmacy networks.

Here are free resources to use to compare plans or find more information:

Medicare Part D is the public-private prescription drug partnership which has achieved a 94 percent customer satisfaction rate.  The program helped to reduce medical expenditures by increasing patient compliance with physician orders. Since its inception 10 years ago, it has cost 45 percent or $348 billion less than initial Congressional projections.

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