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Medicare open Enrollment.

  1. It’s that time of yr. I would encourage you all to look up your drugs on Medicare.gov, and make sure they are all still covered in your plan next yr, and that there is not a better plan for you. Plans change, premiums change and so do formularies. You should be getting your annual change notice in the mail right now, so at least look up your drugs and make sure they are all still covered next yr.

    in most states there are 20+ part d plans, and you can almost always save significant money by checking on Medicare.gov. You can also switch plans on Medicare.gov.

    also, if you are lower income. Check to see if you qualify for the “extra help with prescription drugs” program through SS, and also your states family service office to see if you qualify for the “Medicare cost savings program”. This will pay your Part B premium and even more. (1500$ per month or less if single. More if married).

    beware of the tv ads, anyone who does not show you all the other options, or does not explain the differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
  2. We've been on a Medicare Advantage plan with a Blue Cross subsidiary here in PA for 13 years. I like them because they're less expensive than Medicare supplemental plans IF you're relatively healthy but there are small copays involved so you have to do your homework.

    If you're new to Medicare navigate the prescription jungle carefully. Don't just look at your copay for a prescription because it's the total cost of the drug that's charged against your allowance. It may be hard to find out what the actual cost is without being a member of a plan - kind of like Congress having to sign the ACA to see what was in it. :)

    As an example I use Lumigan eye drops with total cost of $475 for a 7.5ml bottle but my copay is only $115 using Express Scripts. Just for drill I asked the pharmacist at my local Walmart what my price would have been if I used them. He said it was up to my plan to set my copay. I asked him what I would pay for a bottle without a plan and it was $710, quite a difference.
  3. Good advice above!

    I am fortunate in that I am a retired Fed and kept my Blue Cross into retirement. I broke my knee last March and w/o my insurance, it would have been over $30K. Cost me about $1K, including 2 months stay in a rehab and a week in the hospital and ER.

    If you are not covered, get SOMETHING!
  4. yes, there are late penalties if you are over 65 and do not have other “credible” coverage. That goes for part B and Part D

    For veterans, it is shocking for me to tell you that only your drug coverage is considered “credible” by Medicare. And if you do not take out your Part B, you will pay a late penalty. This is an issue I have brought to the attention of both my State Senators and continue to pursue with them.
  5. I can always tell when open enrollment is coming because the phone hardly stops ringing.
  6. I took the cheapest plan that fully covered the two meds I take regularly. Otherwise it has a $400 deductible. My Shingrix shot cost $165, and I still need the second one.
  7. We are on a Medicare advantage plan. Received an email a few days ago with benefit changes for next year. This is the first time I remember benefits ever getting better. Most copays are lower and the plan now covers vision, dental and better hearing coverage.
  8. That’s the cash price for shingrix.
  9. When do you start Medicare ?
  10. Yeah, that was CVS; looks like it is about $150 at Walmart, but you gotta go where they have it. I was on three watiing lists here in the Burg since last November, and found it at Myrtle Beach in September. The CVS lady took a minute to find it at another local pharmacy there. I'll be in Scottsdale in November, so if I don't find it here I may find it there.
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  12. Age 65. If I remember right, you can sign up 6 months before and 6 months after but it starts at 65.
  13. "If you’re eligible at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three months after that birthday." - SSA/Medicare site.

    I almost feel lucky being on Medicare because I'm stuck with the Anthem supplemental coordinating policy the state retirement system says I'm stuck with. No research, no worry. If I ever drop state coverage I can NEVER get it back... so no gaming the system.
  14. I stand corrected!