13 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2013 1:52 PM by muppie

    Medicare Part D - drugs

    Buttercup
      I am new to Medicare, starting Jan. 2012. Right now all my prescriptions are generic. I am diabetic. I would like to hear your thoughts about whether it is a good idea to pay for Part D, which plans are best, and should I get Part D when I can get generics from Walmart @ $10 for 3 months. thanks.
        • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
          JerryD
          I don't think that Part D is optional. You must have some qualified drug plan. Since I have no employer policy, I don't know all of those options. Look on the Medicare web site for info.

          I don't have any serious issues as yet so I got the Humana/Wal-Mart generics plan last year and may do so this year. I think that there is a $300 deductible, but it is very cheap compared to others. Check each plan to insure that you can get the drugs you need in their plan. There is a Medicare site that lets you check each to see if they carry your drugs. It isn't fun but you can check specifics. Just remember that Part D can be changed every year if the old one didn't work.
          • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
            DrRon
            Just a clarification- Part D is optional. Go to medicare.gov and follow the instructions to compare plans. Plans are specific to where you live; some include vision and hearing as well as prescriptions. Other plans are only for prescriptions. I am in the process of reviewing Part D plans and the information on the medicare site has in extremely helpful.
            Good luck with your search, and don't forget that if you are not pleased with your choice you can change it next year.
              • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                Yes 'D' is optional but if you do not sign up when you become eligable - not working and no health plan - you will pay a pentalty. 
                  • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                    DrRon
                    That is correct and I should have included your info. Any suggestions for dental insurance? Medicare part C is not a viable option for me.
                      • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                        Sharon
                        Why would you want dental insurance.  
                        I have had the same wonderful dentist for over 40 years and have no intention of having dental insurance. 
                        If you take good care of your teeth and get them cleaned 2 or 3 times a year and have the dentist keep up on fillings, etc. your teeth should last without problems the rest of your life.
                        It costs about $300 a year to take care of my teeth.
                        Why would I want to pay for insurance?

                        Same goes for Part D drugs.
                        I have Kaiser and it is fabulous except some of my favorite meds aren't covered. I refuse to use the generics...just don't work for me so I just pay for them. I get three months worth for about $100 per prescription.

                        We all seem to want stuff for free. What about quality? Quality costs $ and I fear what will happen when Obama care goes into effect and we loose our Medicare. No doctor will take it and only earn $14 a visit. Could you live on that and pay your nurses and office staff? 
                          • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                            WPZ
                            One root canal or crown will blow your $300 annual budget. These are extremely expensive and like many health problems, are not always in your control.
                            Health care quality is at risk now with costs spiraling out of control, medical offices and hospitals are already facing the specter of laying off workers and patient safety is what is at stake. I look forward to Obamacare to ameliorate these fiscal problems (am currently a health care worker and see how there are private enterprises feeding off/gaming the system).
                              • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                                Sharon
                                And with Obama care, costs will continue to go up, but fewer and fewer doctors and nurses will be out there.
                                My relatives are mostly doctors and nurses and out of all their children, only ONE has chosen to become a doctor.
                                My cousins have all decided to retire rather than deal with Obama care.
                                As to dentists,
                                I remember one year our dental bills were many thousands of dollars but I still would rather pay that to the dentist I've had for years, than trust myself to someone I don't know.
                                My dentist doesn't take insurance.

                                I never had health insurance or dental insurance until I turned 65 and went on Medicare. So now I'm with Kaiser. 

                                I prefer just not to get sick! 
                              • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                                muppie
                                You will not lose Medicare or your wraparound insurance to Medicare when Onsmacare goes into effect. For seniors everything stays the same.
                              • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                                tradewind2010
                                Try Humana for dental. Medicaire does not offer Dental. All plans are not offered in some states
                              • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                                JerryD
                                fos37 said...
                                Yes 'D' is optional but if you do not sign up when you become eligable - not working and no health plan - you will pay a pentalty.  
                                That's what I meant when I said I did not think that it is optional. I suggest that you look very carefully at the penalty cost that increases every month that you do not have a qualified D plan (can be employer or VA, I believe).
                            • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                              JerryD
                              I just went through an exercise that is remarkable, especially for a government sponsored information web site. First some background. I had a pretty serious medical condition that I had fixed at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN last January. I am also on Medicare so I had to pick a new Part D drug insurer before December 31 of last year. I picked the Humana/Walmart plan because it was the cheapest (something like $15/month) and I had no drug prescriptions. Well.... Come January I had plenty of prescriptions and I now take quite a few every day. This made the cheapest plan far less than the cheapest plan and I couldn't do anything about it until this year's enrollment.

                              This year I used the Medicare Part D insurer tool below. It is fantastic in its detail and cost analysis. You enter your drug and frequency and your zip code and it tells you the costs and the providers on an annual and monthly basis. You might think that the drug entry could be tedious but when you start typing the drug it starts suggesting possibilities which you can then just select. Slick! And the cost analyses are very well done. (And I am a retired IT guy responsible for designing and implementing these things.) I highly recommend that you use the tool if you are on Part D or keep it in mind for when you are. Remember, no Part D plan at age 65 (which includes any "qualified plan" like from your employer) and the cost increases EVERY MONTH FOREVER until you get one.

                              https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

                              My general conclusion from my analyses is that among the insurers that do offer your drugs (and consider VERY carefully any that do not), the big difference if you don't max out your drugs and get into the donut hole can be whether it covers the drug deductible which is $325 in 2013. So, for instance, even though the Humana/Walmart plan (and even the cheaper AARP) is $18.50 a month in 2013, it charges a $325 deductible (that's $325/12=$27.33/month) before it covers anything. So the premium is NOT $18.50/month but $18.50 + $ $27.33 = $45.83/month when you consider the deductible before you get any coverage at all.

                              I must admit that this way of thinking was provided by a Blue Cross/Blue Shield consultant that was doing seminars on the Supplemental and Advantage coverages for those eligible for Medicare. He was a retired independent insurance agent that knew his stuff.

                              Another lesson I learned from my health issue is that, if you can at all possibly, get checked out for medical conditions that may require drugs well before the previous year deadline for Part D enrollment or you may get caught with a drug plan that is more expensive than it needs to be.

                              I hope that this heads-up helps all of you contain your Medicare Part D drug costs going forward.
                              • Re: Medicare Part D - drugs
                                Buttercup said...
                                I am new to Medicare, starting Jan. 2012. Right now all my prescriptions are generic. I am diabetic. I would like to hear your thoughts about whether it is a good idea to pay for Part D, which plans are best, and should I get Part D when I can get generics from Walmart @ $10 for 3 months. thanks.

                                My doctor warned me not to use any Rx from Walmart as their suppliers are dubious.  With what company do you have your Part D, if you don't mind me asking?