A Pagosa friend called me and said, “could you put on your lawyer hat, and give me your opinion…?”
“Of course,” I responded.
She told me about Medicare Supplement Insurance and outlined her understanding of a couple different plans.
I’m healthy. I’ve never had supplemental insurance, or a prescription drug plan. I’ve been enrolled in Medicare for many years. I rarely have enough medical costs to reach my deductible. But, because my friend was so emphatic, I decided to reconsider my attitude and position.
What I discovered is quite extraordinary. Bottom line: for less money – zero cost, I can engage a company paid by Medicare to manage its system, and provide hearing, vision, and dental coverage, which are not included in Part A or B of Medicare.
Plus an “OTC…over the counter” program: a stipend to spend every three months for typical drug-store type products, like vitamins, allergy pills, toothpaste; and other stuff found at a Walgreens, Walmart, CVS or other similar stores.
Each plan offers prescription drug assistance. They segregate drugs into “tiers” and relatively common or generic drugs fit into Tier 1, such as blood-pressure drugs. The highest cost for a Tier 1 drug is $2.00. That’s for a 90 day supply. And, if ordered online and mailed, it’s FREE.
But, there’s a kicker! Medicare created a penalty provision. As said, I never had a “drug plan”. Why pay for something I don’t use. Right? Guess what! Medicare penalizes anyone on Medicare who has NOT paid for prescription drug coverage.
The rep at Medicare told me it’s like requiring car insurance even if you’re a safe driver. Just in case you get in an accident.
The rep figures out the additional penalty cost, which is added to the Medicare fee taken out of the Social Security check each month…“in perpetuity”. Meaning: so long as I’m alive and receiving social security, I pay.
I haven’t completed all my research. The deadline is December 7, and I’m quite sensitive to deadlines. Any plan I take will be met with the added ‘forever penalty’ for being healthy, and not needing prescription drugs.
Obviously, this comment indicates how I think and feel about such an imposition of a penalty for not having drug coverage.
This is another topic for a written opinion. I’ll be writing to U.S. local and national representatives in addition to the Social Security Administration.
Substantial Advantage Plan savings occur in the reduction of medical costs such as doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency room calls and other associated events such as diagnostic and other forms of laboratory or other tests, surgery, and the like. The co-pays on many of these services are nothing-ZERO. And, there are many more benefits.
My suggestion is to look into these plans. There’s a plethora of information, but YOU CAN DO IT!