My Medicare Part D Plan Costs Increased By 94%. What To Do?

If I just told you my Medicare Part D drug plan coverage increased by 94%, I don’t think you would fully understand the severity of it all until I showed it to you. So, here goes:

HUmana Part D.jpg
My coverage costs nearly doubled in only one year!

What to do? Change coverage. Again. Starting October 15th, I have to seek out yet another medical plan to cover my medications in retirement. This is my 3rd year in Medicare land. What’s twenty years going to look like? When I first took out this plan three years ago when I turned 65, it was only $18 a month. I don’t take many meds so the plan worked for me. Then the cost doubled to $35. Now, it is doubling again to $69 plus there is a change in the 30 day drug coverage. And I’m not even sick nor ill. Yet.

When you are retired and on a fixed income, how do you deal with all of these increases? I am positive now that when the financial advisors recommend you have at least $260,000 cash, in savings, just to cover your Medicare insurance and co-pays, they’re not kidding!

Thankfully, I found another plan that covers my current meds bringing me back to the original $18 a month cost and a similar, low cost co-pay. Only glitch is that I can only get my prescriptions filled at Wal Mart. Oh well. I have no idea what the future will be.

And so goes another day in the life of a Mad Retiree.

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14 comments

  1. Hi Cindi, So which carrier did you find at the $18 dollar cost again? My current plan took a huge increase too and I will have to find another one, too. Lara

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  2. Hi Cindi, You ask the question “When you are retired and on a fixed income, how do you deal with all of these increases” When interest rates were extremely low 2009 I invested a portion of my portfolio in very long term callable CDS which paid over 3% so I would keep up with inflation at least, Yesterday the last one of these were called. Hallelujah! I immediately reinvested the funds in high paying dividend preferred stocks and REITs and tripled my monthly income from this money. If you want to keep up with the rise in senior expenses IMHO you need to invest some of your savings in choices other then CDS they will never keep up with your ever increasing living expenses not to mention discretionary spending when you have less then $500,00 of assets. The article you referenced on having less then $500,000 also had come to this conclusion or the reality of having to work in retirement. There is a point where frugality and bargains coupled with cutting lifestyle choices doesn’t cut it. I prefer taking on some risk and reinvesting the increase gains to mushroom for future use. IMHO this is less stressful then trying to get a side hustle that is profitable and takes more time. As you know from my email this strategy has paid off well. I think its paid off for Sharon as well.
    Sincerely, Lara

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    • Lara, the modi today, thanks to the decline the Feds are pushing with interest rates is to take on more risk. Also, because rates are so low is to take on more debt. Think about it. Does this sound like a sound thing to do going forward? Delve into risk and debt??? Many companies, such as Sears are taking on tons of low interest debt yet they shouldn’t be in business in the first place. The debt is keeping many, many businesses and people active where they shouldn’t be. Eventually the bough is going to break and its not going to be a pretty sight.
      I asked’ if on a fixed income, what do you do with these rising costs and increases?” Exactly what I did: I found a less expensive Part D insurance for 81% LESS than what I was scheduled to pay. That’s what you do. You keep looking for bargains and less expensive alternatives. Lastly, you also look for ways to increase your income. Nick and I were watching Creed II movie the other day. Both Sylvester Stallone and the other star, Dolph Lundgren and Bridgette Neilson ALL had white gray hair AND they were all still working! You never saw that before. More and more people are still working, including Nick and myself. There’s no such thing as retirement anymore. Nick just came back from a 3 week gig and he earned over $6,000. I’m doing more social media work @$25 a hour. That’s what you do. You side hustle and you keep looking for bargains. When the market crashes next, as it will because our politicians are insane, I won’t be affected by their insanity.

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  3. Hi Cindi, congrats on Nick and you finding more work to balance your budget overages . I prefer not working for someone else and truly continuing true retirement. Different strokes for different folks. So I am curious, how much can Nick work with his health problems and also still qualify for the low cost NY state subsidized health insurance? Will this plan help with the cataract surgery?
    Companies have used leverage for years, banks make their profits on leverage, You use going into low interest debt on your RV to continue getting interest on your savings using the man’s money. An example of your own Personal leverage. I use a 10-18% leverage and capital gains last month to get my car. Lara

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    • Nick only earns about $10K a year. He’s issued a 1099 at the end of the year and the state gets a copy of our tax returns. It’s not much but it helps. I earn about $1200. Ditto for me. Again, no big whoop but it comes in handy. We’re not sure about the cataract surgery. Nick is finding out about it now. His eyes are a mess. He can’t see at night now. Geeze, its always something, right?
      We’re moving in 2.5 years. When we sell this house the RV loan will get paid off in full. We got such a low rate because the first 3 years you get a penalty if you pay it off early, which we won’t be doing. 3 years worked out just fine for us.
      I do have some risk in the stock market that pays dividends. Just got mine today and it sure comes in handy. I believe we should have some risk (keyword is ‘some’) but most money for us is very secure.
      When Nick does a bit of work, I can see an instant improvement in him. He loves his job, hanging out with the guys and being the manager. A few days here and there is good for his soul. He doesn’t have to work again till March 2020 which is just about when we return from Florida. It’s all good!
      I think what you did with your new car turned out to be a very good thing. I wasn’t quite sure in the beginning what to think about it when you first told me. But I see the goodness in your decision now. You did good Lara! Wise decision! Congrats!

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  4. It’s frightening to see how high prices are. So far, thank goodness, DH and I have very good health insurance since I worked for the Federal government. Everyone that retired before I did told me NOT to discontinue it. So far we’re keeping it as it covers EVERYTHING Medicare doesn’t. I have family members who are on Medicare Advantage plans and so far happy with their coverage.
    I AM also concerned about how high food prices are getting. Yesterday I was looking at ground beef and cubed beef specifically and was shocked that the prices for regular ground chuck was $4.99 a pound !!!! A family sized container of cubed beef was almost $20.00 !!!! A loaf of store brand bread was almost $3.00 !!!!
    Getting back to medical insurance, I also heard BJ’s was going to provide some kind of health insurance, with providers and medications available at their locations. As you mentioned, Walmart is also going to open some kind of walk in clinical care.
    Scary world we’re living in.

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    • Hi Teri. Supplemental insurance during Medicare will only cover what Medicare covers. If it’s a special op or something out of the plain and ordinary the supplemental insurance will not cover it. You’ll be on your own paying out of pocket. THis happened to my SIL, who is also a retired doctor. She wanted a special metal hip replacement. Medicare & her supplemental would not cover it. It costs $150,000 for the operation. It took her 3 years to get the money together and she had it done in NYC. The hip replacement Medicare would cover, she said, was too inferior for her. Scary indeed. She was fortunate because she had the money. Most people do not.
      Your very fortunate with your medical coverage. Hold onto it tight!
      I don’t know the last time we bought chopped beef. I did get two good deals on a roast beef and check (good for the slow cooker) but that looks about it for us this winter! My husband likes this salt free bread from Aldi, it’s $4 for a very small loaf!!! And they often sell out so we have to buy a few loaves and keep them in the freezer. Ka-ching!
      The secret is not to get sick and not to eat too much. LOL but not funny 😦
      Thanks for your comment.
      Hang in there!

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  5. We got in a mess when my mom told us to cancel her Plan D. We did so obediently and then were up a creek with her meds. We were able to get Medicare to reinstate her but everything went up when we did. Can’t win for losing.

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  6. The Walmart-Humana Drug plan has been a competitively-priced option that worked well for my 94-year old father over the last 2 years. However, in his state Humana is changing the plan to Humana Premier RX Plan on 1/1/2020. His monthly premium will also more than double, from @ $28 to $59 per month. When he signed up 2 years ago his premiums were @ $18 per month.

    Thank you for doing this post! Although the premiums for the Walmart-Humana had been increasing over the last several years, I’m was not anxious to begin again at square one with 6 different meds (I’ve finally gotten his mail-order refills in sync). However, this monthly premium change is significant enough for me to reexamine all available part D plans since he is on a low fixed income.

    Also, just a fyi, the Walmart-Humana Rx plan has worked with other pharmacies for him besides Walmart. As long as they are In-Network, the copays have been low. Mail-order in 90-day increments has worked best for my father, as most of his drugs are Tier 1, with no copays at all.

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    • I’ve switched from the Humana Premier at $69 a month for a total of $992 per year including my 3 meds to Humana Wal Mart for only $18 a month for a total of $224 a year for the same 3 meds. In addition to having my RX filled at Wal Mart I can also use CVS. I could have chosen one more location.
      Be alert. Read everything. You can control you health costs for the better.
      Thank you for your comment. Best to your dad. You are a wonderful child.

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