Letter to the Editor
·3 min read

It pays to compare Medicare Part D programs

Every year at this time, Medicare has an open enrollment period. And every year at this time, I go online and review my drug plan (Medicare part D) using the calculator at Medicare.gov.

I have Parkinson’s disease (which I wouldn’t wish on my ex-wife), so I have to take nine drugs. Typing them in takes half an hour. But I'm rewarded with a list of every plan available, its drug cost, premium, and deductibles. So, it’s easy to compare the total out-of-pocket expense of one plan to another.

In my case, the lowest cost 2022 drug plan is one of the AARP plans (many of the companies offer two or three different plans) at $7,600 annual out-of-pocket. Next is a COSTCO plan at $8,500, followed by another AARP at $9,200 and two Humana plans at $10,500 and $11,500.

If you really want to spend the big bucks, you could choose one of the Wellcare plans for $32,500!

It takes some effort but over the years I’ve saved over $10,000.

Jack Edmonston, East Sandwich

The need to inform Medicare that you are on Medicare

Before retiring from teaching this past June, I applied for Medicare. Medicare sent a card noting that I would be covered with Part B as of July 1, and they began withdrawing the fee from my checking account. I was covered by Blue Cross when I was employed, and it became my secondary insurer as of July 1, with my new secondary insurance becoming effective as of Sept. 1.

Throughout the summer and as recently as twice last week, I was alerted by local health care providers that Medicare informed them that I was not on Medicare, and that Blue Cross was my primary insurance.

Last week I called Medicare, and their recorded line asks the caller to “have your red, white and blue Medicare card ready,” which I did. When I was finally able to speak to a live human, the woman I spoke to insisted Blue Cross was my primary health care provider. I explained that I am not even on Blue Cross anymore at all, but in the summer it was my secondary provider, only through Aug. 31.

I explained that I had my Medicare card right in my hand!

She responded, “Well, you didn’t let us know you were on Medicare!”

I replied, “But you are Medicare!”

She insisted they didn’t know, and that I should have told them. I persisted, asking her why I would have to let Medicare know that I am on Medicare. I was dumbfounded! Pressed against a wall, this woman could not help me further; she was simply an employee doing what she was told to do.

Since Cape Cod Healthcare told me “this happens all the time,” I am urging anyone new to Medicare to call Medicare once you are on Part B and they begin charging you. Let Medicare know you are on Medicare because someone at that agency is clearly not doing their job.

Diane Mandeville, Marstons Mills

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Cape Cod Times Letters to the Editor Medicare Part B, price comparisons

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