By Max Greenberg
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About this blog: I developed a special interest in helping seniors with their challenges and transitions when my dad had a stroke and I helped him through all the various stages of downsizing, packing, moving and finding an assisted living communi... (More)
About this blog: I developed a special interest in helping seniors with their challenges and transitions when my dad had a stroke and I helped him through all the various stages of downsizing, packing, moving and finding an assisted living community. I live in Palo Alto with my wife and we have three grown children, one still in college. I have been in the Bay Area since 1977 (except for seven years in Newton MA — just missed all that snow too much.) I've worked in sales and marketing in retirement communities for seven years, and have hired and managed home care workers for family members, and have a pretty good idea of how aging in place, or shopping for and selecting the right retirement community works. I now run my own business, Palo Alto Senior Living, providing real estate and senior transition services. This blog is designed to share my experiences, insight and knowledge with seniors and their baby boomer kids and provide useful information to help develop a roadmap for smooth transitions or aging in place. I welcome readers to share their experiences, both good and not-so-good, in the hope that we all can benefit from each other. (Hide)
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During the open enrollment period Oct 15 - Dec 7, 2015, seniors (that's some of us, your parents, your neighbors, your extended family) can shop and compare and switch to another plan which can save you a lot of money especially if you take "expensive" medications. As a testament to how difficult it appears to most folks to shop, compare and switch, only about 14% of seniors will go to the effort of making a change. Under Medicare rules, Rx drug plans can change the premiums, co-pays and deductibles they charge you every year. All they have to do is send you their Annual Notice of Change every September. Many count on folks not bothering to read it or realize how it will affect them. But there are free tools available to make the comparisons based on the type of medication you take, frequency, and dosage. The Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare.gov website https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx is an easy to use tool where you enter the medication name, frequency and dosage and you’ll find out what the various Part D plans will charge you for your specific medication. Since the cost of the same exact drug, dosage and frequency can vary by over $500, it obviously can be well worth the effort to research and switch.
Read the great article in the AARP Bulletin written by Patricia Barry at http://pubs.aarp.org/aarpbulletin/201511_DC?folio=4&pg=4#pg4 that provides other tools for comparing your Rx drug costs, including calling Medicare to do the same search and comparison for you (I can’t guarantee how long you might be on hold though.)
Please share your experiences switching your Part D Medicare drug plans if you've done so in the past. How easy or hard did it turn out to be? How much money did you save?