Senior Drug Benefits Costly & Confusing - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Senior Drug Benefits Costly & Confusing

Mary Lou Ely Mary Lou Ely
Pharmacist Dick Storseth Pharmacist Dick Storseth
Local Insurance Counselor Robert Bell Local Insurance Counselor Robert Bell

Seniors are being forced to skip their prescription plans or pills because of confusion or costs.  This leads to a serious health hazard.

Medicare Part D is a U.S. program to help seniors pay for thier prescriptions, but is under scrutiny buy some seniors and pharmacist.

Local senior Mary Lou Ely says there is too many details to worry about.  "We're given to many frustrations... Prescriptions to deal with but you need to do it", Ely said.  That's what a majority of seniors on Medicare Part D say they do... Deal with it.

Pharamcist Dick Storseth says he does what he can to answer questions seniors have.  Storeseth said, "Every plan is different. Everyone changes the plan, but they don't tell the patient."

Local Insurance Counselor Robert Bell says he understands how anyone can be confused about Medicare.  "I don't know any client or adult child of client that understands it, " he said. That's one of the many reasons he offers help to seniors, so they can make easier decisions about health care.  "You have to decide what's important and your health has got to be one of the most important things to take care of," Bell said.

Some say the confusion lies in the the tiers and plans. Medicare is the state-federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older and the disabled. It helps pay costs for things like doctor visits and hospitalization.

Medicare beneficiaries since January 2006 have been able to purchase the Part D prescription drug benefit subsidized by the program and available through private plans.

Patients under the Medicare prescription drug plan beneficiaries showed that close to 60%, were not aware their drug plans had coverage gaps. Drug expenses that amounted to more than $2,200, were payed by both the patient and plan. After that beniciaries had to pay the full cost until their drug expenses reached $5,100, at which point Medicare covered 95 percent of the expenses. 22-hundred dollars.

Bell says the plan may be confusing but helpful for those who require expensive or a lot of prescriptions. Bell said "for those who are taking 100's of dollars in prescriptions. It'sa pretty smak hil lto have to climb compared to what they use to have to climb.

With all the twists and turns that seniors face dealing with prescriptions and Medicare Part D.  There are methods to cut the confusion and costs.

Bell advises folks to ask their doctor's, "There's an awful lot of physicians that I know in this town. That give free samples of drugs to patients that have trouble affording it," he said.  Even local Senior Mary loy Ely advises others to take control, "You have to get your pharmacist to help you and your doctor. Be aware of what you need to do and do it," she said  Pharmacist Storseth agress, "You have to have somebody that understands it and will work with you and that's key."


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