1.Make sure you have a current copy of Medicare & You. This handbook has details about what Medicare covers and provides websites and phone numbers where you can get additional information.

2.Remember that if Medicare does not pay for a medical procedure your Medicare Supplement will not pay for their share. If you are uncertain if a procedure is covered, you might find the answer in Medicare & You. You can also call Medicare at 1 800 633 4227 and they are opened 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

3.During Open Enrollment, which is from October 15th through December 7th, you can change Medicare drug plans. Also during this period you can change from a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage plan. Unless you have creditable drug coverage from a previous employers or the VA, do not drop your Medicare Drug Policy without enrolling in a new one. Medicare Beneficiaries who have gaps in coverage normally pay a penalty when they enroll in a Medicare Drug plan in the future.

4. Medicare Prescription Drug plans often make changes to their formularies, deductibles, preferred pharmacies and other features from year to year. Also, often Medicare beneficiaries have changes in their medications. It is in your best interest to register on http://www.medicare.gov and store your prescription drugs as well as preferred pharmacies on their site. This will allow you to quickly check during Open Enrollment to see if you need to change to a different Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

5. If your doctor recommends you take a new drug that is not in the formulary of your current Medicare drug plan, you can contact their customer service and request an exception. Also, you can shop around for the best price. Online applications like Blink.com, GoodRx.com and Singlecare.com often have coupons that offer significant savings. You may be able to get a lower cost through discounts at a local pharmacy, an on-line pharmacy like Amazon Pharmacy, Mark Cuban’s pharmacy, Costplusdrugs.com or Marley Drugs (https://www.marleydrug.com, 1 866-997-2871). From this website: www.needymeds.org, people often find huge savings on expensive drugs. This organization helps them connect with the manufacturers of expensive drugs to obtain them at no cost or a low cost. Their number is 1 800-503-6897. Another option is to order your drug from a Canadian pharmacy like Canadian Prescriptions Plus (1-866-779-7587, www.canadianprescriptionsplus.com).

6.You can apply for a different Medicare Supplement at another insurance company any time of the year. Medicare beneficiaries sometimes do this when they find a company with a much lower premium. However, unless you have a guarantee issue because your current plan is being cancelled, you will have to go through medical underwriting. This means the insurance company will ask you medical questions, review your medical records and can decline you.

7. Even if you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement that provides coverage in a foreign coverage, the coverage is limited and is not the same coverage that you have in the United States. Also, your Medicare Supplement will not pay its share until Medicare pays. Since a hospital in a foreign country is unlikely to file claim with Medicare, you may be required to pay your medical expenses and file a claim for reimbursement when you return home. It may be in your best interest to purchase trip insurance. 

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