For existing Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) and Medicare Advantage Plans, annual open enrollment is October 15 through December 7. Because drug plans modify their formulary (drug list) and drug copays every year, it’s wise to review next year’s plans and make a switch if it seems warranted.
There are dozens of PDP’s offered in California (25 in 2018, for example); it can be a maddening experience to visit each carrier’s website and enter your drug list time and time again. That’s where the invaluable Medicare Planfinder tool comes in.
I use a service called Ritter Insurance Marketing to perform your annual PDP review in order to discover which plans have your lowest estimated annual out-of-pocket costs, based on your specific prescriptions. They use the Medicare.gov Planfinder tool to enter your drug list and obtain the result. (My wonderful assistant Ashley used to do this for me, but she’s moved on and up with her artist career, so I’m now using the service Ritter provides.)
How to use the Ritter prescription drug review program
- Assemble your Rx list with the complete name, dosage, and frequency of each drug, and the name & location of up to two preferred pharmacies. Have on hand your Medicare ID number and Part A & B effective dates..
- Contact the Ritter call center at 1-800-908-7046, and give my agent referral code# 6005.
- Hours: Monday-Friday 5:00am-1:30pm Pacific Time. (They are on east coast.) If you get voicemail leave your name and number for a callback. When you connect with a live person, write down the Ritter agent’s name, date, and time of your call.
- If you already have entered your drug list in the Medicare Planfinder, give the Ritter agent your drug list ID, password date and zip code, as that will speed things up.
- You’ll receive recommendations based on a review of the costs associated with the plans. Be sure to ask for the plan’s star rating, and if it has a nationwide pharmacy network.
- If you are ready to enroll, Ritter can usually take your dapplication over the phone. If your current plan is the best fit, you won’t need to re-enroll. Although Ritter is contracted with most plans, if they don’t represent the plan that is the best fit for you, they will tell you how to enroll directly with the plan.
- Later, Ritter will follow up with you to make sure you’ve received new ID cards and answer any questions, and will reach out to you for the next annual open enrollment October 15-December 7.
• Ritter pays me $10 for each person who calls and gives my referral code. (This doesn’t come out of your pocket.)
• Ritter will not market any other product to you. They only provide business-to-business services to brokers like myself.
• Ritter earns a commission on PDP sales. Your premium for any Prescription Drug Plan is the same, regardless if you purchase it directly from the carrier, use Ritter, or any licensed broker. You can look up premiums for all PDP’s here.
If you want to enter your drugs in the Medicare Planfinder yourself:
• Visit https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx
• In the upper right corner see ” Step by step overview on how to complete a plan search.”