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Van Nest Community Association

By Ron Kunik

Christmas is only a week away and I know everyone is busy getting everything ready and purchasing those last minute gifts. How can you have any time to think about anything else?

I have to warn you seniors, the open enrolment period for Medicare part D is closing on December 31. Part D of Medicare pays for your prescription drugs. There are a lot of changes in what your part D monthly premiums and copayments will be in 2009. Many of the stand alone plans which most of you seniors belong to will be raising premiums and copayments for prescription drugs. You should do some research and pick the plan that is best for you then enroll before December 31th and save money in 2009 or just do nothing then spend more on premiums and co-pays until the next open enrolment period comes around in November  of 2009. This may seem like a lot of work especially at this time of the year but its well worth it. Here are some resources you can use to make sure you are getting the best plan for yourself.

To compare part D plans go to BULLETIN.AARP.ORG and click on your health near the top of the page then click on “Medicare part D your questions answered” near the middle of the page, Next click on “choosing a Medicare part D plan” in the question “how to I choose a Medicare part D plant” click on the link “how to navigate the plan finder quickly” last just print out the instructions. Now you are ready to compare part D plans for the prescription drugs you use. Go to WWW.MEDICARE.GOV and click on Medicare prescription drug plans-2009 plan data or call Medicare’s help line at (800)633-4227 for the same information.

There are other ways you can cut your prescription drug costs.

You should ask your doctors if they can prescribe a generic or older brand name drug if it will work well for your medical condition.

You can apply for extra help if you income is under $15,600 (single) or $21,000 (married) Call social security at (800) 772-1213 or go to WWW.SSA.GOV and click on Medicare under questions. You can find low cost programs at WWW.NEEDYMEDS.ORG for contact information on drug assistance programs and free or low cost health clinics.

You can check out WWW.BENEFITSCHECKUP.ORG  to see if you qualify for Federal, State or Local benefits that help lower living expenses.

 You can also go to WWW.PPARX.ORG or call (800) 477-2669 toll free to apply for free or low-cost medications from drug companies’ patient assistance programs.

If you need personal help call your state health insurance assistance program (s.h.i.p.). To find phone numbers for S.H.I.P. go to WWW.SHIPTALK.ORG or call the Eldercare locator at (800) 667-1116 toll free. 

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