You all may find the following useful.
Thanks, Robert Tracy
630-484-1555 (old cell)
630-749-1720 (new cell)
166 E LAKE ST UNIT F, ELMHURST IL 60126-5509
Web site: http://condor.depaul.edu/~rtracy/
Medicare Part D is too Difficult and Expensive, 11/21/2011
This message is for anyone who finds enrolling in Medicare Part D to be frustrating, and would like to save a lot of money. My motivation is to share information not widely known.
Each year I shop for my brother to find the best possible insurance company for Medicare Part D. We find a suspicious pattern. The cheapest plan in one year always becomes very expensive the following year. Insurance companies hide that they are raising costs. For example, one year we were shown a complicated chart of next year's coverage, from which it was impossible to tell if costs were being raised. Cross-year comparison is difficult because of changes in drugs being covered, and changes in co-pays, premiums, coverage in the "donut hole," etc. Insurance companies misleadingly reassure their customers by telling them not to worry; they need do nothing and they will be re-enrolled automatically.
Shopping for Part D insurance coverage (to be completed between Oct 15 to Dec 7, 2011) is tedious for everyone, but especially if you are elderly or sick or not knowledgeable about computers. Phone assistance from Medicare is available (1-800-MEDICARE) if you wait long enough on the phone.
For the above reasons, it is tempting to do nothing and allow yourself to be automatically re-enrolled with the same company from year to year -- and be unaware of always increasing insurance costs. Insurance companies and the government are not consumer oriented because they fail to explain why it so beneficial to search every year for an improved plan. For my brother, I switch plans yearly, and have always saved at least $800 by switching; last year by switching to a different company the saving was $3,863! We have found staying with the same company can result in an increase of 61% in just one year! Enrollment in Medicare Part D is biased against consumers due to the tricks and traps mentioned above. No wonder insurance costs are exorbitant.
A solution: Until our government passes laws that protect vulnerable insurance customers from predatory capitalism, here is a partial solution. There is an excellent Internet tool provided by the government through Medicare that compares alternative insurance plans. See the Medicare plan finder at http://www.medicare.gov/
The plan finder does the tedious math to identify the least expensive plan that covers your prescription drugs.
A useful guide from AARP is at http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-11-2010/part_d_prescription_drug_plan_2011.html
The goal: to select improved or cheaper coverage for next year, and then verify the improved coverage by contacting the insurance company involved directly by phone. They will undoubtedly allow you to enroll over the phone if you wish.
Please pass this document along to anyone interested. My only motivation is to share helpful information. You may modify this document as you prefer, removing my name. If needed, please seek help from acquaintances familiar with computers and the Internet, or become one of those helpers yourself.
For members of our church, I help people in selecting a good plan. Bob Tracy, 630-484-1555, firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also appreciate any feedback about how the enrollment process worked for you.
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