Millions of Seniors Could Be Spending More Than They Need to on Drugs – Complicated Health Insurance Policies at the Heart of th
Posted Dec 01 2009 10:03pm
We have totally built one big nightmare for our seniors and why they have to spend hours and days trying to figure this out is beyond me. When the Part D supplements were created we didn’t have near the amount of drugs we have available today and add on some other additional complicated clauses and you have just created a nightmare that is way too complicated for Grandma and Grandpa to figure out.
It’s those complicated algorithms used to create the plans at the bottom of this too. I think right now everyone is a bit tired of all of this and the fact that insurance coverage and the time it takes to research and do all of this in a time where most of us are searching to find more time for ourselves is an outrage. The future holds more drugs, more diagnosis processes, more treatments and the decisions in those areas are getting complicated too, can’t we get a break on the plans and at least simplify this part of the equation? For that matter we have done the same thing with electronic medical records too, way too many vendors and getting way to complicated. When things get this complicated, more competition is about the last thing needed.
If we have a public plan that could simplify this, people might jump on board in a hurry just to get out of the nightmare the health insurance companies keep building. When it comes to choices, more is not better here and muddies the water when it goes beyond what one can evaluate in an hour or so. Come to think of it, seniors are not the only ones who hate this process, we all do. There are counseling centers out there for help, but hey it takes a while to train the counselors too, and things keep changing so again not a real good solution when a bit of simplicity here could really help out. BD
Seniors have until the end of the year to switch Medicare drug plans to get a better deal. But many will pass up the chance to save hundreds of dollars a year in prescription costs.
The reason: With dozens of drug plans on the market, many seniors get overwhelmed at the prospect of changing plans, even if a different one would better suit their needs and lower their costs. But with the average premium for a Medicare drug plan increasing 11 percent in 2010, consumer advocates say seniors have even more reason to check out the options and consider their costs.
Robert Lowenstein, a 91-year-old retired Washington attorney, chose a UnitedHealthcare-AARP drug plan in 2006, when the stand-alone policies first became available. He trusted AARP, which was UnitedHealthcare's marketing partner, and has stuck with the policy because he figured changing would be confusing and time-consuming. But a look at the "Prescription Drug Plan Finder" on Medicare's Web site ( http://www.medicare.gov ) indicates that Lowenstein would save about $400 a year by selecting a different UnitedHealthcare plan or a policy offered by CVS Caremark. Similarly, his wife, Elizabeth, 82, would save $450 a year by switching from her UnitedHealthcare plan, reducing their drug costs by more than 20 percent.