Avoiding high retirement health costs

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Below is an article at yahoo.com on avoiding high retirement health costs.

Blair noted too that some individuals with chronic conditions may find a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP) to be suitable for their needs. Medicare SNPs, said Blair, are a specific type of Medicare Advantage plan that limit enrollment to individuals with specific diseases and/or chronic conditions, which may include cancer, cardiovascular disorders, dementia, and end-stage renal disease.

Blair said SNPs tailor their benefits, provider networks, and drug formularies to best meet the specific needs of certain group of individuals. Read Your Guide to Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs).

There are other things that you can do to trim costs, according to a recent survey from eHealthInsuance.com.

For instance, less than 9% of individuals who take prescription medication for diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are in the Medicare Part D plan with the lowest total out-of-pocket costs available to them, according to review of more 46,000 unique user sessions on eHealthMedicare.com and PlanPrescriber.com.

The eHealthInsurance study, which reviewed unique user sessions that occurred on eHealth’s Medicare plan comparison and enrollment websites, during the 2013 Medicare annual enrollment period, found that 92% of Medicare enrollees who take medications for one of these four major illnesses were not in the lowest cost plan for the specific prescription drugs they were taking, according to a release.

The eHealthInsurance study found that individuals taking prescription medications for these specific drugs would save an average of $716 on prescription drugs in 2013 by switching to the MA prescription drug plan or stand-alone prescription drug plan with the lowest total out-of-pocket costs for their medications. Read eHealth Study: Medicare Beneficiaries with Diabetes, COPD, Alzheimer’s and Heart Disease Benefit More, on Average, by Comparing Medicare Drug Plans.

To be sure, it might seem like a full-time job doing all this work just to cut health-care costs in retirement. But doing so will be well worth time and effort, say experts. After all, would you rather spend your nest egg on living or on health care?

Robert Powell is editor of Retirement Weekly, published by MarketWatch. Follow his tweets at RJPIII. Got questions about retirement? Get answers. Send Bob an email here.

Robert Powell is a MarketWatch Retirement columnist

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