medicareMedicare will still be here, and what you spend for health care in 2013 is going to be affected by how much attention you pay to keeping your costs low.  According to the latest research, 92 percent of Medicare beneficiaries do not have the Medicare Prescription Drug plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan that saves them the most money.
This survey involved over 3,000 people who were looking to enroll in a Medicare plan during the first three weeks of the last Annual Enrollment Period. An average beneficiary who found the plan with the lowest out-of-pocket costs could save:
1. $668 in 2013 over the Prescription Drug plan they had in 2012, or
2. $612 in 2013 over the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan that they had in 2012.
Only 13 percent were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan with the lowest total out-of-pocket costs. And, only five percent were enrolled the Part D Prescription Drug plan with the most savings.
Medicare Out-of-pocket Costs Add up Quickly
When you see a doctor, Part B has an up-front deductible of $147 for 2013 on anything that’s not considered to be recommended preventive care. That’s up $7 since 2012. The standard monthly premium for Part B will also increase by five percent to $104.90 for 2013.
Half of Medicare members are earning $22,000 or less now, and an average member spends roughly about 15 percent of her or his household budget on health care. According to one survey, one in four patients face out-of-pocket costs of more than $100,000 during the last five years of life despite having Medicare.
This may sound too overwhelming, but remember that not all Medicare beneficiaries have bills like that. It does appear that most Medicare beneficiaries are spending more in out-of-pocket cost than they need to, though.
If you’re not sure you’re saving as much as possible, we’re here to give you an expert opinion on whether a different plan would mean major savings for you in 2013. Of course, you pay nothing for our research.  And, we’re free to recommend whichever insurance company does the best job of meeting your needs.  That’s why I’m an independent advisor, and so are all of my collegues at Medigap Advisors.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit