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Cabarrus Magazine

Weigh Your Medicare Open Enrollment Options

Nov 01, 2017 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Weigh Your Medicare Open Enrollment Options

This year’s Medicare Open Enrollment is here – running from October 15 to December 7. This is the only time of the year in which you may make changes to your Medicare. This is an opportunity for everyone to choose plans that work best for them. 

What does open enrollment mean to our veterans who are eligible for Medicare? Michael Rea, pharmacist for Cannon Pharmacy and son of a veteran, offers this helpful information.

Retired military that have Tricare as their insurance are in a very good position. Tricare acts as the retiree’s supplement to Medicare, paying for the remainder of medical expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover. It covers copays and deductibles; typically, nothing else is needed in addition to Tricare. 

Tricare also has a prescription drug benefit. This, in my opinion, is its one downfall because it is administered by Express Scripts, which requires beneficiaries to use mail order for their medications. This breaks the relationship that beneficiaries may have with their pharmacist; however, any acute medications can still be filled in the community.

For veterans that use the Veterans Administration (VA) for their benefits, Medicare becomes a bit more complicated. If the veteran exclusively uses the VA, then there is no need for the beneficiary to add anything else to his or her Medicare. However, if the veteran exclusively uses civilian doctors and hospitals, then it is imperative that they follow the same path of reviewing their Medicare plan each year. This is also true for veterans that use both the VA and civilian doctors. 

Medicare is a complicated, convoluted program that has many ins and outs. Remember that Cannon Pharmacy offers a yearly Free Medicare Checkup with one of our Medicare Navigators. You do not have to be a customer or become a customer to come in and let us show you the options you have for next year.

Article By Michael Rea

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