October 24th, 2015 BY HealthNetwork
Examine Your Medicare Part C & D Plan Now Before The Dec. 7th Deadline
Don’t miss your once a year opportunity to switch plans if you need to, the open enrollment period begins Oct. 15th through Dec. 7th. People on Medicare should carefully examine their Medicare Part C & D every year for any changes that may have affected their healthcare coverage, but this year is particularly critical for seniors due to the numerous price hikes on countless prescription drugs. Every year insurers are required to send a notification letter to seniors informing them of any changes to their plans, including changes to their prescription drug benefits, such as drugs that have been dropped from their formulary or have increased the price. The notifications for changes to drugs in their plan can often contain so many notices it looks like a local telephone book it’s so thick, and though time consuming is extremely important for seniors to take the time to review.
The average senior takes as many as seven prescription drugs each day and for that reason alone you can’t afford not to review your Part D coverage. With the soaring drug prices that have occurred this past year it could cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars next year if you don’t re-examine your plan coverage. According to an AARP study last November, retail prices for more than 200 common drugs typically taken by seniors to treat their hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and other common afflictions rose 13 percent in 2013 alone. And another disturbing trend that is occurring this year is the unprecedented price hikes that have been seen in generic drugs too, not just brand name prescriptions.
Free Help is Available to Seniors Who Need Help Choosing a New Drug Plan
Not everyone will need to change their Medicare Part C & D plans, but for those who do and are worried about making the right choices or worse the wrong choice need not worry, there is free Medicare drug plan counseling available to seniors throughout the United States. Counselors will walk you through the available plans that best suit your prescription drug needs over the phone, online, or some states set up clinics that seniors can attend in person to go over their medications and healthcare needs.
These in person clinics can be useful in other ways too; sometimes two doctors can be prescribing two different medications for the same condition without the doctors realizing it. It can be a great way to have a second look at what medications you’re being prescribed and for what condition to avoid unknown medication duplication. And while duplication prescriptions won’t give you any added benefits for your medical condition(s) they can have a dramatic increase in the possible side effects as well as the obvious unnecessary cost. When speaking to a drug plan counselor or attending a clinic make sure to have all your medications with you (there) so you can go over each one with your counselor.
Beware The Open Enrollment Period is Prime Time For Con Artists
Seniors need to always be on their guard for con artists and identity thieves, but the open enrollment period is when seniors really need to be on high alert. It is from now through the Dec. 7th deadline that these con artists especially target seniors with various scams to get you to give them your Medicare card number. Legitimate insurance agents are not allowed by law to call you, come to your home, or send you emails unless you have contacted them first and given them your permission to do so.
These con artists or unscrupulous agents may try to entice you by offering free breakfast, dinner or lunch invitations, claim you are the winner of a drawing, offer prizes and some even pay you cash for attending their invitations to special events, seminars, or free chartered bus trips to special shows or casinos. That is, it’s free if you switch to their health plan or give them your Medicare or social security numbers. DO NOT BE FOOLED! What ever they’re offering will cost you much more than a trip would or any other gift or prize. And worst of all your health could be put at risk, you can’t put a price on your health, it’s priceless.
How Not To Be a Victim of Fraud
Never give your social security number or Medicare numbers to anyone unless it is someone you have contacted through their company phone number and can verify they actually are who they say they are. Ask if they can mail you the information forms in the mail and check the company address and phone numbers are correct.