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Medicare Plans for Drugs

Medicare Plans for Drugs

Experts anticipate a hike in premiums or limitations being set on many Medicare plans. Therefore, they advice that seniors, who need to trim expenses, need to review their Medicare Drug Plans in detail. Seniors have time till December 31 2008, to change plans.

David Sayen, regional administrator, U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that those who are currently quite satisfied with their ongoing coverage should also analyze their plans as, next year a different plan may cater to their needs better.

It is anticipated that most plans will increase premiums in 2009. Accordingly some plans can have higher co-payments with greater limitations on covered medicines. Therefore looking out for hidden costs is being highly recommended by advocates.

Kevin Prindiville, the staff attorney of National Senior Citizens Law Center in Oakland said that a lot of plans will be incorporating a penalty on branded drugs which have a generic equivalent, and this is what people should concerned about.

Information should have already been forwarded across to Medicare recipients in regards to the change in their plans and benefits, next year. It is recommended that those who still have not received any intimation can call for their plan details and ask for the proposed changes information immediately.

People should get their list of drugs, the dosage, pharmacies used regularly, the total cost ready before they sit down to analyze and compare, Medical Rights Center suggests.

After reviewing the plan, seniors can compare other plans available in their area by using the Medicare Drug plan finder tool at www.medicare.org or calling the Medicare helpline at +1800-633-4227.

Recommendations from the Medicare Rights Commission are as follows:
  • If the plan is covering all medicines that the patient is taking.
  • Payments to be done at the pharmacy through co-payments for each drug.
  • Monthly premiums and annual co-payments to be made.
  • If prescriptions can be filled up at the preferred pharmacy.
  • Effects of connecting a pharmacy outside the network.

Hundreds and thousands of dollars can be saved a year by carefully choosing a drug plan and switching over medicines like generics, which are low-cost in nature. A wise and prudent choice can help seniors cover a gap commonly known as the “the doughnut hole”.

There are several options available and these can end up confusing people, and therefore it is suggested to get free advice from various counselors available.

Kevin Prindiville further said that next year it will be very difficult for seniors of low-income group, as choices will narrow down and many people might need to switch plans to avoid new costs.

For example nine plans in California which provide no monthly premium drug plans for the low-income group will go down to only six next year. Prindiville estimated that around 7000 in the Contra Costa County and 6000 in the Alameda County will be affected.

However, Medicare have arranged to automatically shift these people to new drug plans under which they can still enjoy no premium facilities, however it is always important that they check if the new plan covers their medications.

Prindiville and other consumers are strongly encouraging insurance companies and Medicare officials to spread information in more languages other than English for greater reach. Under the present scenario getting materials in Spanish is difficult.

To this David Sayen has committed to look into the allegations. He said arrangements can be made that distribution of materials in area specific languages can be done.

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