Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: October 15 - December 7

How a 30-Minute Phone Consultation Led to My Best Medicare Plan Choice for 2023

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My Best Medicare Plan Choice for 2023

If you are currently enrolled in Medicare then your time to make adjustments to your coverage for 2023 is during this year’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) which runs from October 15 through December 7. 

During the AEP, you can pick a new plan, or switch from original Medicare to Medicare Part C / Medicare Advantage (or the other way around). You can also change your drug plan. Your new coverage will become effective in January 2023. 

So don’t just sit back! Now is the time to put on your thinking cap and decide. I just did, and I would like to tell you about my experience doing it because the lessons I learned could save you a lot of time and help you choose the plan that is best for you. 

About Me and My Medicare

So you can understand the issues I was facing this year, let me start by telling you that I have been receiving Medicare for three years now. In 2022, I have been enrolled in an Aetna Medicare PPO plan.

Let me also mention that I write blog posts and other materials for CoverRight. However, I didn’t start to write today’s article because I wanted to promote CoverRight. I was already researching Medicare coverage and considering changing my current plan. Then someone at CoverRight said to me, “As long as you are considering changing policies, why not speak with a CoverRight Medicare Concierge who can help you decide which plan is right for you?”

So I did just that, and I want to write about what that experience was like. Whether you decide to schedule a call with someone at CoverRight is, of course, up to you. But here is how everything played out for me. 

What I Liked about My Plan

I have been pretty happy with my Aetna Medicare PPO plan. I pay $105.00 every month for it because my wife and I are still working and earning money. (If we were retired and income-less, we could probably choose a zero-cost plan.) 

The Aetna plan has really paid off. One example? I had a costly operation two years ago that had a sticker price of about $13,500. My Aetna plan (with Medicare behind it of course) paid for all but about $300.00 of that bill. I was happy with that! 

Regarding other costs, I don’t have a copay when I visit my primary care provider, who is an MD. I also use the services of two specialists – a cardiologist and a urologist. I have to pay a small copay when I go to see them – usually $45.00. Also when those specialists want me to have tests, the costs for those tests usually don’t require a copayment.

What I Have Not Liked about My Plan

I have not been pleased with how Aetna has covered the costs of my prescription medications. At the beginning of the last two years, every trip I made to CVS to pick up my monthly prescriptions costs hundreds of dollars. The pharmacist there tells me that is because I am in a “donut hole” at that point and recommends that I call Aetna to see if I can change any of my medications to generics or lower-tier alternatives that could cut costs. I always try that, but nothing reduces the costs. Then several months into the year, I magically emerge from that “donut hole” and the costs of refilling my medications fall back down to rational levels. By way of example, the cost of two top-tier meds I take start falls from hundreds of dollars to about $40/month to refill. Still a lot of money. 

I also take lower-tier medications and generics that fall to $3.00 or $4.00 a month after I get out of the “donut hole.” I can live with that. 

What I Discussed with my CoverRight Medicare Concierge

I went online to schedule an appointment with a CoverRight Medicare consultant. And he called me at the precise minute I had requested. I appreciated that! And from the minute we started to talk, he really listened and provided solutions. 

He was very organized. Our conversation started with basic information, such as my age and health concerns. (I learned I could have entered this all myself on the platform.) But he then zeroed in on two topics. 

  • My medications – He asked me to name the prescriptions I take, one by one and entered them into the CoverRight system. He was instantly able to tell me that a United HealthCare plan could save me a little money on those medications every year – but only a small amount of money. He also told me that if I started to use a service that mailed me my prescriptions, I could save a little more.
  • My care providers – He asked me for the names of my primary care provider and my two specialists (my cardiologist and urologist) whose care is covered by my current Aetna Medicare PPO policy because they are in the Aetna network. He was immediately able to tell me that although my primary care physician would be covered by the United HealthCare policy that he was looking at on his screen, those specialists would not be. And for me, that was a deal breaker. (After years of working with the same cardiologist, I am not about to switch.) 

Why This Is My Best Medicare Plan Choice for 2023

After this 30-minute consultation, I decided to stay with my current policy. But it was an informed decision.

As our conversation ended, the CoverRight consultant made a few other suggestions. He said that I might be able to save some money on my prescriptions if I started to use GoodRx or Cost Plus Drugs, a new online prescription service that was started by entrepreneur Mark Cuban. I am looking into those options. 

My CoverRight consultant also made sure that I had his direct phone number and invited me to call him at any time if I had further questions about my Medicare coverage and options. 

So my CoverRight phone consultation was a quality experience that helped me understand whether better alternatives were available to my current plan. 

So I can motor into 2023 with the confidence that I am getting the best coverage I can at the lowest price.

Thank you, CoverRight.

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CoverRight is on a mission to make the Medicare plan selection process easy to understand. We are here to help you compare Medicare plans and find the one best suited to your specific situation. Try the platform for yourself.

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