Things you should know about Medicare Part D - Part three of a series on Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program - Decision ti
Last updated 11/29/2007 at Noon
The Medicare Part D program is evolving and consumers are paying. The time to choose your Medicare prescription drug program for 2008 is fast approaching. December 31 is the last day to enroll.
If you are not changing plans you should not have to take any action. However, Medicare Part D is ever changing so it is advisable to read all the information you receive regarding 2008 benefits.
Some consumer sources are reporting projected premium increases for 2008. Similar information could not be located on the official Medicare Web site; however, it would be prudent to carefully check your insurance information for rate increase notification.
There is personal verification of significant premium increases on two stand-alone insurance plans. There has not been any reported evidence of increases in prescription drug plans that are attached to health insurance such as with an HMO.
The Medicare Web site, http://www.medicare.gov, has a section titled “5 Ways to Lower Your Drug Costs During the Gap Coverage.” Suggestions include asking your doctor or medical provider to prescribe generic, over-the-counter or less expensive brand name drugs, using mail order pharmacy service or checking the Pharmaceutical Assistance Program site, State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program site or http://www.socialsecurity.gov. You can access the pharmaceutical Web sites from http://www.medicare.gov.
Mail-in pharmacies can be a good choice if your medications are unlikely to change. Your insurance company decides which mail-in pharmacy to use.
Remember that it takes time to receive your medication, so order early. When getting a new prescription you will need two prescriptions, one for a month’s supply to be filled at the local pharmacy and one to send to the mail-in pharmacy.
The next article will summarize the Medicare Part D basics. In the meantime, remember to read all of the information that you receive from your insurance company. Assume that there are changes that will require you to make decisions.
Madelyn Lewis is a Registered Nurse in the community working with the Fallbrook Healthcare District to educate the public about Medicare Part D.