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It's time to look at your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011, at 9:53 AM

By October 1 all the Medicare Prescription Plans are mandated to have the information about their prescription drug program for the year 2012 to their clients. They will tell you what the new premium will be and the deductible, if any. They will also have information regarding the drugs they cover and the co-pays.

You should look at this information and see if you need to change plans for the coming year. If you decide that you might need to change plans you are allowed to do so between October 15 and December 7, this is earlier than ever before and will help the insurance companies get your new card and information to you before the first of the year. Please remember you cannot change plans for Medicare D after December 7.

Many people do need to change plans due to cost or changing a drug and it not being covered. My husband has been on Medicare D for three years and has had three different plans. Something else of which you should be aware is that just because your spouse is happy with a certain plan does not necessarily mean that is the best plan for you. Just as different people take different medications they may need different drug plans because all plans don't cover the same drugs. Or, there may be a different cost for the same drug within different plans.

There are 30 stand alone prescription drug plans from which to choose for 2012. The plan with the lowest premium is Humana Walmart Preferred Rx with a premium of $15.10 and a $320 deductible. The plan with the highest premium is Blue Medicare Rx Premier, with a premium of $114.20 and a $0 deductible.

This year the highest deductible the plans are allowed to charge is $320 but there are 15 plans that have a $0 deductible and many in between.

There are other programs offered to help certain people save on their Medicare Part D costs. The Federal Government has a Low Income Subsidy that will pay all or part of your premium and deductible and lower your co-pays. If your monthly income is $1354 or below as a single person or $1821 or below as a married couple with assets (not counting your house and your car) of $12,640 as a single person and $25,260 as a married couple, please call Jackie, Liz or me at our office and let us help you apply for that very beneficial program. The phone numbers will be found later in this article.

The state of Mo. Offers the Mo. RX plan to singles who have monthly income of $1805 or below or couples with income of $2428 or below, assets are not counted. This program will pay 50% of your out of pocket expense for your Medicare approved drugs. Any drugs that Medicare Part D pays on and leaves a co-pay for you to pay, Mo. Rx will pay of the co-pay. We have applications for this program in our office as well and we will be happy to help you make application.

Remember October 15 -- December 7 is the time to make changes in Medicare D If you need to. You can call us at 335-3331 or toll-free 1-800-392-8771. We are having a "sign-up" day at our office October 17th from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Come and bring your list of medications and your Medicare card and we will help you choose a new plan if you need to. There are other days when we will be at different locations to help people choose new plans. Call our office at the above listed numbers to see when we will be in an area near you. All this can also be done over the phone if you prefer.

As always just call if you have questions regarding your Medicare D sign-up.

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Age Spots
Ruth Dockins
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Ruth Dockins is the Public Information Director for the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging and author of 'Age Spots,' a column/blog which is featured in several Southeast Missouri newspapers and is devoted to seniors and senior lifestyles.
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