Booster Shots

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Last call for Medicare Part D

December 29, 2009 | 11:19 am
Attention, seniors: If you meet the age and income requirements for Medicare, Thursday (just two days away) is the last day to pick a drug plan that works for you. Given that plans change their pricing and restrictions from year to year, it's vital to do a little bit of research to find the best fit.

When the Medicare window opened in November, Your Money/Your Health columnist Francesca Lunzer Kritz gave a helpful guide on picking a drug plan and navigating the enrollment process. "Don't just check the out-of-pocket price for a drug; figure out the plan's total charges for it," she wrote. "Here's why: Medicare adds up the plan's costs and the beneficiary's costs to determine how much has been spent on medicines. If you and the plan together spend $2,830 or more (up from $2,700 last year), you'll find yourself in the so-called doughnut hole, paying the full cost of your medications until your out-of-pocket expenses reach $4,550, up from $4,350 in 2009."

Consumer Reports also provides a quick rundown of the pros and cons of Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and the Medicare Rights Center answers a range of questions, from paying for healthcare costs that Medicare doesn't cover to caring for a senior who uses the healthcare plan.

And, last but not least, there’s the Medicare website, where you'll be able to compare plans and sign up for one all at the same time.

-- Amina Khan