Medicare drug plans

LFPB4December 12, 2005

Have any of you enrolled in any of the Medicare Drug Plans for either yourself or your loved ones? If you haven't, you need to get started. That's the biggest mess of non-information you ever saw. Page after page on the internet telling about how wonderful it is, but practically nothing that's useful. One of our Senators is holding a town hall meeting soon to explain it to us. Remind me never to vote for him. I'm sure he can't figure it out either!


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I've been trying to get my mom's settled. She's been on the Circuit Breaker Senior Drug Plan, which will be non-existent as of Jan 06. It's state run, and apparently the state signed her up for a program. They contacted us via letter, and advised that we called Soc Sec or Medicare to confirm mom's on the list. So I sat on "ignore" for 47 minutes on Friday; finally, someone picked up and long story short, they do NOT have mom as part of this plan, even though I have a letter in front of me stating that she HAS been enrolled. So I ask what to do? I didn't get an answer...for now, it ticked me off too much, I had to put it aside....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 2:11PM
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This article was in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle. I recommend that you read it all the way thru, because you'll see how easy it is to get wrong information!

I count my lucky stars every single day that Mother has military benefits from Dad's long duty to his country. Without those, I'd be tearing my hair out, I am sure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Choosing a plan

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 3:25PM
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Makes you wonder, doesn't it! That was in interesting article. Humana is the only one in our area that has an informative web site. The rest are vague and refer to a 1-800 number. If I am going to have rely on a voice over the phone.....well, I think I would just as soon rely on my own judgement. Or the other alternative would be to tape the list to the wall and throw a dart at it.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 4:39PM
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Crazy, tho---you call the 800 number but those are just warm-bodies, and they can't tell you anything. Sigh.

(PB, have you changed names AGAIN? LOL----gotta keep track of you!)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 4:44PM
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While I actually know little about this bureaucratic mess, I do know that whatever pharmacy(s) your plan allows you to use, they have the right to change their prices every 30 days while you're only allowed to change plans once a year- during a predetermined period.

And just what are ya' going to do if your Dr. puts you on a new medication they don't cover?

Seems to me the plan was written to benefit the insurance & drug industry & we citizens get to carry the load.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 12:02PM
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AND, sorta' like some onions, as you peel away the layers you find the center pretty rotten.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 12:04PM
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Well, we signed up for the Humana plan. The reason? Walmart had a booth set up with a real live human being that I could talk to face to face. Also, according to a fact sheet sent by Medicare for our state, they had the lowest premium that will work for us. We don't take but a couple of things, and we don't need the fancy-smancey plans that cover the sun, the moon and the stars. There is such a thing as too much coverage.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 9:56AM
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It looks like the serious weaknesses of these plans involve either a store or a particular Rx.

So you move? And that store is no longer convenient? Or they change their store policy, and no longer deliver? This is real, since mother is in assisted living. If she had more problems and we were forced to move her to a place with higher level of service, would that old store now deliver to a new address? If something were to happen to me, my brother or my son would see that Mother gets moved to be close to where they live.

And as for medications? Come on! Everytime my DH goes to the doctor, they fiddle with the HBP or cholesterol medications. Something comes out that's new, something isn't working, they all have side effects. Medications are not a static situation, not at all.

Just the thought that they want to codify those two elements (location and drugs) into a plan that cannot be changed more than once a year, well, that just confirms my belief that it's all smoke and mirrors, and the Government is NOT here to help you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 11:02AM
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This whole thing is a giant mess! Who ever was paid to design the thing should have to pay it all back. I think that most of the major companies will cover medications sold in all of the major chains (CVS, RiteAid, Walmart, Echards, etc) The people with little money will make out OK, as will those with the sky-high drug bills, but the people that take just one or two things will save only a few bucks per year IF they choose the right plan.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 11:55AM
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Yeah, our tax dollars are hard at work for us, huh? I'm presently wrestling with the same issue... you can't get through because the 'phone lines are so jammed with other confused, worried people.

I can barely contain my disgust and contempt; I NEED this sort of "help", in addition to a full time job, and an elderly mother who is rapidly losing her mental capabilities?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 6:59AM
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Chelone, I don't want to sound as if I am reccomending Humana, but if you have a Walmart or Sam's club nearby, they say they have an agent in each store. A real LIVE trained agent. Their plan seems to be as good as most and a lot better than others. Time will tell if it will stay that way. I'm cynical enough to think it won't. You can change once a year. You would be free to get the medication in any but the really small drugstores. They are aiming for the big stores that can afford to buy in big lots.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 9:20AM
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Hubby has the VA (100%), Medicare and now he's signed up for a Humana plan. While he doesn't pay anything for care at the VA, it's quite dangerous to his health to rely on them very much. BTW, it sounds like instead of putting the different plans on the wall and throwing a dart, you should put up pictures of all your elected representatives in congress and the White House, pick up a dozen or so darts and have at it. Okay, so it won't help you pick a plan, but it might make you feel better.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 11:51PM
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Signed up with Humana today, based on research. Medicare's numbers have been changing by the week since early November but seem to have stabilized. Humana-man at Wal-Mart went through the meds one-by-one and confirmed accuracy of Medicare site info so I have some confidence I did it right.

The only way I can understand this ridiculous bill is by thinking that, perhaps, its opponents may have intentionally screwed it up so completely they were certain it would never pass in this form. Amazingly, it did. I would predict changes. It really is a disaster in its present form.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 3:38PM
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I also signed up my mother with Humana. She is on aprroximately 10 different medications. Most do not have a generic equivalent. I went to put in her particular medications, the dosages and the frequencies of refills. There were 4 plans that covered 100%.

We went with Humana because of the no deductible, the "doughnut hole gap", because she had NO prescription coverage at all before and was paying all out of pocket and her prescriptions were costing so extremely much monthly/yearly. Also, if she needs more prescription down the line later on or has to have changes, she will be covered.

I am not promoting Humana either, but with all of my Mom's situation of medical conditions/prescriptions it made the most sense. The premium would probably cover any additional medications she might be prescribed in the future. Having said all this, she is an extreme case having to use very costly medications.

For those who don't need that type of coverage, it would be hard to justify the montly premiums.

You really have to look at each persons individual medication needs. I DO feel SO very sorry for those poor seniors who don't have access to a computer, or don't have a loved one/friend/agent to help them researching this information.

Medicare Part D = Rocket Science

JMHO ~~ katclaws

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 7:17PM
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I think that I am going to use this as an excuse to sit down with my doctor and go over each medication that I take. There are a couple that are similar to other things that have generics. If the generics work, I am willing to try them. At my time of life, I am not looking for extending life an extra few years. I just to make the aches and pains go away so that I can sleep better. This getting old is a bunch of crap!!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 7:59PM
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Just be aware that Humana is a insurance company, and pays their agents well to sign people up. Occasionally when this happens, the person will loose other benefits. Before signing up with any company, find out from your insurance commissioner if they are licensed to practice in your state, and what complaints are registered. Check with AARP, Allstate, and other well know insurance companies to protect yourself.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 11:45PM
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Boy, eventhough we don't live in the states, i found this very interesting! but, i will say and i hate to admit this, but we Canadians do have it lucky, especially if you are a senior! when i picked up one of Al's prescriptions on monday, i was listening to the lady explaining to a man, about how the medical plans work for seniors, it seems that there is a co-pay to the government of 100.00 per quarter after that MOSTLY all prescriptions are free or a 2.00 charge depending on the pharmacy. our health care - staying in the hospital is free this would be a ward type of room - 4 to a room, however at this new fancy hospital we have there are only a few of these rooms, and then you would be put in a semi-private room at no extra charge - or if you requested this and wanted to pay out of pocket i think it is 54.00 per day. Al has been lucky he usually ends up in a private room (we have semi-private coverage, free through his being employed at the College), and a private room is 118.00 per day. Eye exams are free for seniors, diabetics and people with illnesses that it might cause blindness or you pay if you do not have private insurance i think it is 42.00 per exams. if you are not a senior and make over 30 thousand a year you pay for health care and it is a percent, i remember on the income tax forms it would be about 200.00 per year for a family. we are very lucky here and the government does look after seniors and those on assistance (or welfare, as it was called before), i'm actually looking forward to paying the 100.00 and then nothing! - Al's meds would be paid for after just 1 of his prescriptions! PB - i don't think you're old at all--you don't write like an older person! debbie

    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 2:27PM
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