Helping Pennsylvanians To Choose Among Medicare Prescription Plans

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Medicare Prescription Plans

Secretary of Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower urged older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries to attend local enrollment meetings designed to help them choose a federal Medicare Part D prescription plan. The meetings, organized by the state Department of Aging's APPRISE program, will be held across the state.

The open enrollment period for Medicare Part D began on November 15 and will end December 31, with coverage to begin on January 1, 2008.

"I encourage all Medicare beneficiaries to attend a local meeting and have a plan comparison completed," said Secretary Eisenhower. "This will help to ensure that consumers are informed and can select the plan that best fits their individual needs."

When choosing a Medicare prescription plan for the first time or switching to a different plan, performing a plan comparison helps consumers select the option that best meets their specific medication and other needs.

Secretary Eisenhower stressed the importance of considering the "three C's" when choosing among the Part D plans:

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-- Coverage: Check to see if your medications are covered on the plan's formulary;

-- Cost: Compare your current prescription costs to the costs of other Medicare drug plans (premiums, deductibles, co-payments);

-- Convenience: See if your current pharmacy works with the plan and whether they offer a mail order option. Some plans may require Step Therapy, which means that they may require you to first try a certain drug to treat a medical condition before they will cover a different drug for that same condition.

The meetings, organized by the Department of Aging and the 52 Area Agencies on Aging, are led by volunteers from the department's APPRISE program, which offers free, unbiased health insurance counseling to Medicare beneficiaries. APPRISE counselors may assist by:

-- Completing a Medicare Part D plan comparison based on your individual prescriptions and needs,

-- Explaining the various costs involved with the Medicare Drug Plans in your area,

-- Offering tips on how to save money during the coverage gap, and Assisting with on-line enrollments.

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