Searching For The Best Deals: Medicare Open Enrollment Period Launches

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 17, 2012 Updated Oct 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM EDT

INDIANA, (www.incnow.tv) --- Premiums are going up next year for many of the most popular Medicare prescription drug plans, but smart shopping can still help you avoid breaking the bank.

Decisions about health insurance can cause your blood pressure to shoot through the roof.

Millions of seniors are in a big headache period right now, as it's Open Enrollment for Medicare prescription drug plans.

The average monthly drug plan premium in 2012 is $29.67.

That moves up slightly to $30.00 a month in 2013.

But a private firm that analyzes the market, says 7 of the 10 most popular plans will see premiums jump anywhere from 11 to 23 percent.

A counselor with a state health insurance assistance program in Fort Wayne says it pays to sit down and grind the numbers, to see if switching to a different plan can save you money.

" If their plan is just fine for next year, then they don't have to do anything. If they find a plan that is less expensive, then they can enroll in the new plan, and when they enroll in the new plan, they'll be disenrolled from the old plan," says Fred Taube, a consumer counselor with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP.

Taube says an important piece of advice to follow is don't just focus on your premium.

He says a client he worked with recently opted for a plan with a premium of more than a hundred dollars a month, because the co-pays and deductibles were significantly less costly for that person's specific drug regimen.

" A modest increase may still be the most economical plan for your particular list of drugs, but that's why it's important this time of year to make that comparison," said Taube.

On a good note, a major new low-cost plan is hitting the market, called the AARP Medicare Rx Saver Plus Plan.

If you're mainly looking for a bargain premium, it will average just $15.00 a month.

Again, you can shop around for your best option until the enrollment period concludes December 7th.

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