Archive for October, 2008

Part D Drug Plan Enrollments and Health Care Decisions – Making The Right Choice

QUESTION:

ANSWER: The Centers for Medicare state that you can change your drug plan up until Dec. 31st.  If you feel that you made a mistake about the plan you joined and want to switch, you can do so all the way till the 31st of December.  YOU ARE NOT STUCK!!!

Don’t feel as if it is written in blood.  All you need to do is send another enrollment to Medicare, and the last one standing Dec. 31st is the drug plan you will have for 2009.

QUESTION: I am losing my GROUP RETIREMENT HEALTH CARE COVERAGE ON JANUARY 1, 2009.  If I join a plan, say in November, and realize I could get better coverage with something else, can I change it?  What are my options?

ANSWER: If you are losing your coverage you are in your OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD.  YOU ACTUALLY HAVE UNTIL 63 DAYS AFTER JANUARY 1, 2009, TO MAKE ANY KIND OF CHANGES THAT YOU WANT TO MAKE. Let’s say you joined a MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN

, and a few weeks later you decide you don’t want it, all you have to do is cancel it and send in an application to a MEDIGAP/MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT

company.  Then you can get a stand alone drug plan to go with it.  NO PROBLEM. You are still in your guaranteed issue period and no health questions will be asked.  EVEN IF YOU WAIT UNTIL AFTER JANUARY AND GO TO THE DOCTOR AND FIND OUT YOU DON’T LIKE THE COVERAGE ON YOUR MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN, YOU CAN CHANGE IT TO A MEDIGAP/MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT WITHIN THAT 63 DAY PERIOD. Please don’t feel like you can’t change your decisions.  THIS WILL TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF OF YOU, SO THAT YOU HAVE TIME TO THINK, EDUCATE YOURSELF, AND CALL US TO GET PRICES AND OPTIONS.

QUESTION: I was told by my sales representative that was helping me decide on my health coverage that I HAD TO MAKE MY DECISION WITH HIM IN 48 HOURS.  COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE TRUE?

ANSWER: I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ANYTHING MORE RIDICULOUS IN MY ENTIRE LIFE TIME.  IF A SALESPERSON TRIES TO PRESSURE YOU BY GIVING YOU ULTIMATUMS AND TIME RESTRICTIONS, THEY ARE VERY DESPERATE TO MAKE A SALE.  PLEASE DO NOT FALL FOR THAT.  YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE AND DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO WITHIN THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE’S ANNUAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD OF NOVEMBER 15TH THROUGH DECEMBER 31ST.   IF YOU ARE LOSING YOUR GROUP RETIREMENT BENEFITS YOU HAVE YOUR ENTIRE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD TO CHANGE AND DECIDE ON PLANS.  THERE ARE NO TIME LIMITS SUCH AS 48 HOURS, A WEEK, ECT …..I THINK I HAVE NOW HEARD IT ALL , FOLKS!!!!!

PLEASE CONTACT ME, KARYN BLAKE, IF YOU HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS OR IF YOU ARE BEING PRESSURED BY A SALESPERSON WITH ULTIMATUMS OR ARE GIVEN INFORMATION THAT IS QUESTIONABLE.  I WILL BE HAPPY TO ADDRESS IT HERE ON THE BLOG, SO THAT EVERYONE CAN GET THE CORRECT INFORMATION.  YOU MAY BE SAVING SOMEONE ELSE FROM FALLING FOR SCAMS.

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 29, 2008 in Drug Plan Enrollment.

Start your free comparison now!

MEDICARE SCAMS – BEWARE DURING ANNUAL ELECTION PERIOD

THIS TIME OF YEAR, SENIOR CITIZENS CAN BE VERY VULNERABLE TO SCAMS, OR SALES PRACTICES THAT ARE QUESTIONABLE.  PLEASE REMEMBER NOT TO GIVE OUT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR MEDICARE CLAIM NUMBER TO ANYONE, UNLESS YOU HAVE DECIDED TO ENROLL ON A PLAN AND YOU ARE SURE YOU HAVE A REPUTABLE PERSON FROM A “LICENSED AND CERTIFIED” COMPANY TO SPEAK WITH.  IF YOU ARE ENROLLING ONLINE, MAKE SURE IT IS A SECURE SITE.

NEVER GIVE “CASH” TO AN INSURANCE OR MEDICARE SALESPERSON.  NEVER.

NEVER MAKE A CHECK OUT TO THE SALESPERSON, IT MUST ALWAYS BE MADE OUT TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY YOU ARE JOINING.

NEVER SIGN ANYTHING UNLESS YOU ARE READY TO ENROLL.  SOME SALES TACTICS INVOLVE TELLING PEOPLE THEY NEED TO SIGN SOMETHING TO GET THEIR MEDICAL RECORDS, BUT THEY ARE ACTUALLY SIGNING TO JOIN THE PLAN.  UNLESS YOU HAVE DECIDED TO BUY A POLICY OR JOIN A PLAN, NO ONE NEEDS YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS.

Many Medicare Beneficiaries get notices in the mail from what looks like their drug plan company, but it is an application to enroll on the companies Medicare Advantage Plan With a Built in Prescription Drug Plan.  I get emails all the time during the AEP that they “SOMEHOW” enrolled in a MAPD and it cancelled their drug plan and healthcare plan.  PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING UP FOR!!!  If this happens to you, please call MEDICARE immediately, and let them know you were misled. 

Senior citizens are special targets for con artists. In fact, according to some estimates, one-third of all victims of fraud schemes nationwide are seniors. Worst of all, approximately 60% of all health care fraud victims are senior citizens.  Why?

Many elderly people live alone, making it easier for the fraud artist to go one-on-one with them.

Many seniors are lonely and are susceptible to the charm and persuasive tactics of the criminal.

Seniors often have ready cash.

Seniors are trusting.

Some of these con games, such as high pressure sales pitches for living trusts, investments and “miracle” remedies are aimed at the senior. They also prey on their confusion regarding the New Medicare Health Coverages, such as Medicare Advantage Plans.

Here are a few quick tips you should use to avoid being taken by any of these schemes:

Don’t let greed overcome your common sense . If they say “you have won” or get-rich-quick, you know that it is too good to be true.

Wait 24 hours before making any purchase ; there is no need to rush. An offer from a reputable source will remain available from one day to the next. If they offer a low price that you “must buy now”, don’t fall for it.

Get a second opinion; consult with someone you trust before making important financial decisions. If you are deciding on changing your health insurance and do not understand the benefits, have a family member speak to the salesperson with you.

Never reveal your “vital numbers” such as credit card, phone cards, date of birth or social security number or your PIN number for automated teller machines.

BE WARY OF:

HIGH PRESSURE SALES
DEMANDS FOR CASH ONLY
THE NEED FOR QUICK DECISIONS
SECRET DEALS, AVAILABLE ONLY TO SELECTED PEOPLE
NO RISK, HIGH YIELD INVESTMENTS

MY PART D USA and our websites and information therein are HIPPA compliant and secure.

You must make sure you are on a secure website before enrolling in a Part D drug plan.

We hope that this information has been helpful to you! 

Pass it ON!

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 26, 2008 in SENIORS WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS.

Start your free comparison now!

MEDICARE PAaRT D DRUG PLAN COMPARISONS ONLINE NOVEMBER 15TH

JUST A REMINDER THAT YOUR PART D DRUG PLAN COMPARISON/ENROLLMENTS WILL NOT BE “LIVE” ONLINE UNTIL NOVEMBER 15TH DUE TO THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE RULES.

WE ARE GETTING MANY OF YOU CALLING AND TRYING TO GET THEM NOW.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE A COMPARISON NOW, PLEASE VISIT MEDICARE.GOV

YOU CANNOT ENROLL IN A PART D PLAN UNTIL NOVEMBER 15TH – DECEMBER 31ST, SO WE INVITE YOU TO COME TO

WWW.MYPARTDUSA.COM

AND ENTER IN YOUR MEDS AT THAT TIME FOR YOU FREE COMPARISONS.  YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR DRUGS LISTED WITH ALL THE CO-PAYS AND PREMIUMS FOR THE PLANS THAT WILL SAVE YOU THE MOST MONEY AND COVER EVERY DRUG YOU ARE TAKING, IF THEY ARE COVERED UNDER MEDICARE.

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 26, 2008 in Drug Plan Enrollment.

Start your free comparison now!

VISIT WWW.MEDICARERIGHTS.COM, THE MEDICARE RIGHTS CENTER AND LISTEN UP! MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS ARE NOT ALL THEY ARE CRACKED UP TO BE

DEAR READERS:

AS YOU KNOW, I HAVE BEEN WARNING YOU ALL ALONG ABOUT MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS AND THEY AGGRESSIVE WAY THEY ARE MARKETED.   I RECEIVED NEWLETTERS FROM THE MEDICARE RIGHTS CENTER AND GOT THIS NEW MESSAGE TODAY.  I HAVE TOLD YOU IN THE PAST THAT THE REASON SALESPEOPLE TRY TO ENROLL PEOPLE ON THESE TYPE PLANS, INSTEAD OF WHAT MOST PEOPLE NEED, A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT/MEDIGAP POLICY AND A STAND ALONE PART D DRUG PLAN, IS THE INCREDIBLY HIGH COMMISSION THEY GET PAID FOR DOING SO!  I HAVE EVEN BEEN THREATENED FOR TELLING YOU THIS BY SOME SALESPEOPLE THAT SELL ADVANTAGE PLANS. 

SOME PEOPLE DO NEED THESE PLANS BECAUSE THEY ARE ON DISABILITY AND CANNOT GET ANY OTHER KIND OF COVERAGE.  OTHERS JUST CANNOT AFFORD THE PREMIUM ON A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT/MEDIGAP PLAN.  THOSE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WE RECOMMEND TO ENROLL ON THESE PLANS AND THEN WE GO OVER IT AND OVER IT, SO THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF COVERAGE THEY HAVE AND UNDERSTAND THE TERMS OF PAYMENT FROM THE MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN. 

THERE ARE MANY, MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT NEED MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS!  THAT IS WHY I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY SOME SALESPEOPLE TRY TO GET THOSE THAT DON’T NEED A MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN AND REALLY SHOULD NOT BE ON ONE, FOR THIER BEST COVERAGE OPTION, TO JOIN THESE PLANS.  AS I SAID BEFORE, YOU CAN DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR PEOPLE AND STILL MAKE A LIVING! 

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING:

Asclepios – Your Weekly Medicare Consumer Advocacy Update Medicare Advantage Commissions – October 23, 2008; Volume 8, Issue 43

Recent reports indicate that some of the major national Medicare private health plans are going to pay independent agents $500-plus per year over five years, $2,500 in total—for every new enrollee in their “Medicare Advantage” plans. The new totals are at least double the top commissions typically paid over the last couple of years a period when people with Medicare were regularly victimized by predatory agents looking to make a quick buck. Older adults and people with disabilities were bullied or tricked into Medicare private health plans that no longer allowed them to see their doctors or that stuck them with high out-of-pocket costs when they fell ill.

These new commissions are an attempt by some of the major plans to undermine efforts by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to restrain commissions and in particular to eliminate incentives for agents to “churn” move customers from plan to plan just to earn commissions. Many agents believe that these higher commissions actually increase incentives to churn.

CMS should not allow Medicare Advantage plans to pay these commissions. The agency has broad authority, under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, to establish commission guidelines that create “incentives for agents and brokers to enroll individuals in the Medicare Advantage plan that is intended to best meet their health care needs.”

There should be no incentive to move someone from one Medicare Advantage plan to another just to earn a higher commission.  There should be no incentive to move someone from a Medigap supplemental plan to a Medicare Advantage plan just to earn a higher commission.

With those twin goals in mind, CMS should establish a cap on commissions consistent with existing requirements to pay level commissions over 5 years, starting with the 2009 plan year. The cap should be set at a level that approximates current renewal rates for Medicare Advantage enrollments made in 2007 and 2008. And it should approximate Medigap renewal rates for a healthy 66-year-old, the low-cost consumer that Medicare Advantage plans target for enrollment.  With those parameters, commissions would be capped at well under half the rates Medicare Advantage plans are now proposing to pay

Remember, Medicare Advantage plans are paying these commissions out of subsidies they receive from taxpayers. It is outrageous that any of these subsidies, which are supposed to pay for the health care of older adults and people with disabilities, are diverted to pay commissions to enroll people with Medicare in plans that cost taxpayers more money, $150 billion over the next ten years than it costs to provide care under Original Medicare.

IT WOULD BE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO GO TO WWW.MEDICARERIGHTS.COM AND SIGN UP FOR THEIR NEWSLETTERS, SO THAT YOU TOO, CAN BE INFORMED FROM ANOTHER UNBIASED SOURCE FOR YOUR MEDICARE INFORMATION.

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 23, 2008 in Uncategorized.

Start your free comparison now!

6 WEEKS FOR PART D DRUG PLAN SELECTION

November 15th through December 31st is coming up fast!  We are looking forward to helping you get your FREE comparisons of Part D drug plans for 2009.

I know there is much confusion about drug plans and how they work, especially the “dreaded donut hole”.

It is funny because I am seeing that term “dreaded donut hole” other places.  I feel like I made up a new word, but that is the only way I know how to describe it.  When you are used to paying your co-pays and all of a sudden get hit with retail prices, it can wreck your budget.  The most shameful thing is that many of our Senior Citizens and people on disability cannot continue to purchase their meds after they fall into the “dreaded donut hole”, and stop taking their life sustaining medications.  I do hope that the next administration does something to help ease this problem.  If you fall into the donut hole, the first thing you should check is if you qualify for drug assistance programs.  Some of you will, but most of you will have too high an income for this help.  We have the limits listed on www.mypartdusa.com Most people do NOT fall into the donut hole, some fall in and never get out until the next year begins, and others that have serious health issues may reach the donut hole within a couple of months into the new year and get to the 95% catastrophic coverage.  No matter what catagory you fall into, there are ways to make the most of your drug plans and stay one step ahead of the drug plan companies.

I heard an analogy on Medicare Part D plans that went something like this:

A group of 10 geniuses locked themselves in a room to design a perfect racehorse.  After a few hours they emerged NOT with a racehorse, but a perfect CAMEL!  Everyone was very critical and disappointed at first….but came to realize that a camel can be a very “useful” animal, once you over the humps!

I don’t know what group of geniuses from these INSURANCE COMPANIES AND DRUG COMPANIES came up with these drug plans, but you can certainly tell they were more concerned with making money than helping people with Medicare benefits.  I try to help you get over the humps with all the drug savings tips and donut hole advice to help you MAXIMIZE what we have now for drug plans.  Please let me know if you have questions, also let me know if you have suggestions to help others.  We are all in this together!

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 22, 2008 in Drug Savings Tips.

Start your free comparison now!

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING SURE YOUR $4 GENERICS DO NOT GET APPLIED TO YOUR PART D DRUG PLAN

I HAVE HEARD FROM MANY OF YOU THAT HAVE TROUBLE GETTING YOUR PHARMACY NOT TO APPLY YOUR GENERICS FOR $4 TOWARD YOUR FALLING INTO THE “DREADED DONUT HOLE.”

I CALLED MY LOCAL WALMART PHARMACIST AND ASKED HIM EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PURCHASE DOES NOT COUNT ON YOUR PART D DRUG PLAN:

2.  WHEN YOU PICK UP YOUR PRESCRIPTION, THERE WILL BE A TICKET ON IT.  UNDER YOUR PRESCRIPTION NUMBER YOU WILL SEE THE NAME OF YOUR DRUG PLAN IF THEY HAVE FILED IT ON YOUR DRUG PLAN.  IF THIS SPACE IS BLANK OR SAYS CASH, THEN YOU WILL KNOW THEY CARRIED OUT YOUR DIRECTIONS.  IF YOU SEE YOUR DRUG PLAN ABREVIATED NAME UNDER YOUR PRESCRIPTION NUMBER, YOU MUST TELL THEM TO CANCEL THAT TRANSACTION AND SHOW YOU WHERE THEY HAVE TAKEN IT OFF YOUR DRUG PLAN.  ONCE YOU MAKE IT CLEAR THAT YOU ARE SAVVY TO HOW THEY OPERATE THEY MUST NOT GO AGAINST YOUR INSTRUCTIONS.

PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THIS WHEN YOU BUY YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS OFF YOUR DRUG PLANS, EVEN IF YOU TELL THEM NOT TO FILE IT AGAINST YOUR PART D PLAN, MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR TICKET.

I hope this helps you in not falling into the “dreaded donut hole” so quickly in 2009!  Please let me know how it goes for you and what problems you run into if any.  Everyone can learn from your experiences!

Remember, that if you are going to get to the 95% coverage, YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY YOUR GENERICS OFF YOUR DRUG PLAN.  YOU NEED TO GET TO THE 95% COVERAGE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 21, 2008 in Drug Savings Tips.

Start your free comparison now!

GM Retirees, Join the Over The Hill Car People for Medicare Information

GREETINGS TO ALL GM RETIREES!!

If you have never gone to www.Overthehillcarpeople.com

please visit the website.  They have all kinds of GM articles that I’m sure you would like to know about.  They also have Medicare information that could help you with your decisions.

www.OverTheHillCarPeople.com click here to visit

Mr. Jack Dickinson is the President and I’m sure he would be happy for you to become a member!!

Membership information is on the website or you can email him, as his email address is there for you as well.

I also have a disscussion board on the site by clicking on Bulletin Board

on the left hand side.  We would welcome you to join us for a Medicare benefits resource.

Thank you so much Over The Hill Car People

for giving us the opportunity to be a resource for your Medicare questions and concerns!!!  We are very honored to be a FREE service to you!

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 20, 2008 in Where do I go for HELP with Part D or Medicare Issues?.

Start your free comparison now!

Thank You to AMERICAN AIRLINES Retirees

Last Wednesday, we had the priviledge of visiting an American Airlines group of retirees in Tulsa, OK.  We had a very good meeting talking about Medicare Part D and what they could expect from this benefit.

There are so many Fortune 500 companies that are losing their healthcare retirement benefits across the USA.  This is very unfortunate, although we try to be as helpful as possible. 

A special thanks goes out to Mr. Earl Tillery for organizing the meeting and picking us up from the airport.  If any of you that attending this meeting have any questions for us, please email me.  I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please write to me, Karyn Blake, here at My Part D USA’s blog at kblake@MyPartDusa.org. Or you can email this article to a friend.

Published by mypartdusa on October 20, 2008 in Where do I go for HELP with Part D or Medicare Issues?.

Start your free comparison now!