Wisconsin Resources on Medicare
Not only do the plans available for Medicare Part D and Medicare Health Plans vary from state to state, there are some other aspects of Wisconsin law that make our options unique. Thanks especially to colleagues at Disability Rights Wisconsin, the Medigap Helpline and Prescription Drug Helpline, and other GWAAR staff for sharing these helpful resources.
Because formularies and tiering structures can also change from year to year, it is best to evaluate all plans using the Plan Finder on Medicare.gov. This guide for using the plan finder can get you started. Simply staying with the same plan from one year to the next could cause you to pay hundreds of dollars more than with a different plan. The same is true for assuming that a zero-deductible plan or a plan with extra coverage in the gap will automatically be a superior plan. Confirm the results from the Plan Finder with the actual plan representatives before enrolling, but using the Plan Finder is a solid step toward assuring that you will not pay more than necessary for your maintenance drugs in the coming year.
Concerned about the costs of your plan options? There may be options to help. Contact your local ADRC or aging office or one of the two State Prescription Drug Helplines. Review the Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help.
The full subsidy Extra Help will fully cover the premiums of only certain PDPs (prescription drug plans), called Benchmark Plans. If you get Extra Help and have a Medicare Advantage plan with a premium, part or all of it may be covered by the subsidy.
The number and type of Medicare Advantage plans in an area can vary greatly and service regions are based on zip code and county. Your local ADRC or aging office may have a chart of all the options in your area. You should use the Medicare Plan Finder or information on the plans’ Websites for more detailed information and to be able to search for whether your providers are in the plan’s network. (Don’t forget to look for hospitals or skilled-nursing facilities you might use if needed.) The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has developed an excellent guide to help evaluate whether an Advantage Plan is right for you.
This step-by-step guide can help you use the Medicare.gov Plan Finder to find out about Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Cost Plans in your area. Don’t forget to look at their quality ratings!