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Cabarrus Magazine

Medicare 102

Nov 01, 2016 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Medicare 102

For many, the biggest challenge in choosing the right Medicare plan lies in what medications are or are not covered by their plan. This is a problem encountered all too often by Cannon Pharmacy pharmacist, Michael Rea.

“This can be as simple as switching to another drug or as unfortunate as needing to have a more expensive plan to cover a medication,” he explains. “If a patient signs up for the wrong plan, the results can be drastic. A patient may not have access to a medication they need due to it not being covered or due to the cost under the plan in which they are enrolled.”

Another challenge that has arisen in the last few years is that of “preferred pharmacies.” This is much like how some health plans work to include some providers at a lower cost than others. Therefore, the Medicare plan chosen should be based upon the pharmacy the patient uses in order to get the best prices.

Fortunately, there are some programs in place to assist seniors in choosing the correct Medicare plan and even affording the prescriptions they desperately need.

For seniors living on a fixed income, there is a program through Social Security called “Extra Help with Prescription Drug Costs.” This is an income-based program that reduces the monthly premium of the plan and reduces the cost of the medications. This has helped many customers afford their medications and all their other expenses as well.

Rea also says that Cannon Pharmacy is continuing to assist patients with a “Free Medicare Checkup,” which we covered extensively last month. This is a free service offered by Cannon Pharmacy that assists seniors in selecting the right Medicare plan for their needs and they don’t need to be a customer to participate.

The Medicare open enrollment period continues through December 7. Rea points out that there are a couple of exceptions to this, but those exceptions affect a small number of people, making getting a yearly Medicare checkup done crucial. “A poor decision now might cost you for an entire year,” he says.

Article By: Jason Huddle and Michael Rea 

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