If you’re enrolled only in original Medicare with a Medigap supplemental plan, and don’t use a drug plan, there’s no need to re-evaluate your coverage, experts say. But Part D drug plans should be reviewed annually. The same applies to Advantage plans, which often wrap in prescription coverage and can make changes to their rosters of in-network health care providers.
“The amount of information that consumers need to grasp is dizzying, and it turns them off from doing a search,” Mr. Riccardi said. “They feel paralyzed about making a choice, and some just don’t think there is a more affordable plan out there for them.”
Is there another way?
When creation of the prescription drug benefit was being debated, progressive Medicare advocates fought to expand the existing program to include drug coverage, funded by a standard premium, similar to the structure of Part B. The standard Part B premium this year is $144.60; the only exceptions to that are high-income enrollees, who pay special income-related surcharges, and very low-income enrollees, who are eligible for special subsidies to help them meet Medicare costs.
“Given the enormous Medicare population that could be negotiated for, I think most drugs could be offered through a standard Medicare plan,” said Judith A. Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
“Instead, we have this very fragmented system that assumes very savvy, active consumers will somehow shop among dozens of plan options to see what drugs are available and at what cost with all the myriad co-pays and cost-sharing options,” she added.
Advocates like Ms. Stein also urged controlling program costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies — something the legislation that created Part D forbids.
Medicare is a blessing. It is a great help to retired and elderly people and generally does the job it was intended to do. There are a great variety of Medicare supplement plans and pharmaceutical purchase plans, And they jockey and change every year.
I get a headache just thinking about how to compare these plans from my individual needs and and whether their cost is worth it. The take-home message from the New York Times article is that you can get individual attention from an advisor who presumably knows the field well.
The key acronyms are SHIP and HICAP, which stands for state health insurance assist program and California health insurance counseling and advisor program respectively.
The California number is 1-800-434-0222. Be sure to write down the medications that you are taking and Your diagnosed illnesses, as well as your financial status in order to make best use of the service.
From a New York Times article (May 24, 2020):
Dr. Perencevich believes that face shields should be the preferred personal protective equipment of everyone for the same reason health care workers use them. They protect the entire face, including the eyes, and prevent people from touching their faces or inadvertently exposing themselves to the coronavirus.
The debate over whether Americans should wear face masks to control coronavirus transmission has been settled. Governments and businesses now require or at least recommend them in many public settings. But as parts of the country reopen, some doctors want you to consider another layer of personal protective equipment in your daily life: clear plastic face shields.
When I take my walk, which currently is my only outing, I wear a face SHIELD for my personal protection against contracting Covid 19 from others.
I gave up on the face MASK because it is uncomfortable, especially when I am breathing heavily while walking rapidly up hills.
There isn’t much research supporting the self-protective use of face shields, but the video accompanying this article was enough for me; notice the aerosol-free area behind the face shield.
While walking, I breathe In deeply through my nose, and exhale through my mouth, using “pursed lips”, which aids in oxygen extraction by holding the alveolae open.
Exhaling through the mouth also clears the air behind the mask for subsequent nasal inhalation.
With nasal inspiration, any SARS CoV-2 aerosol particles would be deposited in the nasal passages, Which are that much farther away from your vulnerable lung.
It isn’t perfect. For one thing, it wouldn’t protect you much if someone coughed at you from the side or behind. I often hold my breath reflexes when I hear someone cough, or when I pass closely (even 6ft.) to someone.
The face shield holds promise for protecting you from viral infection, including the “flu”.
From a New York Times article (May 5, 2020):
“Calling my patients at home, with or without video, has become my new normal. After 25 years of being a pediatrician, telemedicine is teaching me new ways to communicate with families.“
“I try to hear the mother above the babbling of her baby. And then to listen to the babbling of the baby. Is it joyful? Are there big breaths between the babbling?“
A federal government waiver, issued early in March, expanded the use of federally funded health insurance — Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program — to pay for telemedicine visits. The goal was to allow more people with symptoms of illness to be heard, and sometimes also seen, by a health care provider without the risk of exposure to coronavirus at a doctor’s office or hospital.
The federal government has been expanding the use of telemedicine for years — but like so many changes in this pandemic, what used to take years to transform, we are now doing within weeks.