Friday, November 21, 2008

Flip a Coin, Throw a Dart and Pick a Drug Plan.

Between now and the end of the year, I have to decide if I’m going to keep the prescription drug insurance plan I’ve been using or switch to another one. So I sat down yesterday to figure out which of the available choices would give me the best coverage for the lowest cost.

I spent well over an hour at the computer plugging my medications and dosages into a program that promised to help me select the best plan for my needs.

Guess what: There are no less than 65 plans available to me here on Maui and they all have different annual premiums that range from almost $400 to more than $1200.

But with each of these plans, my out-of-pocket cost will be different for the medications I take. For example, the co-pay for a 30-day supply of one particular pill was $18 on one plan and $98 on another.

Some plans cover all the drugs for the whole year; other plans stop coverage when you reach a certain level, then resume coverage after you hit another threshold.

In all honesty, I could spend hours on all that and still not be sure of which is the best plan for me. And, of course, everything would change anyway if the plan I choose increases premiums or if I have to change medications or start on a new one. We have the lobbyists for the private insurance companies to thank for this.

One more thing: We’re not permitted to legally buy prescription drugs from Canada where the cost is a lot less because – wink! wink! – they might not be safe … even though many of the drugs we get from our local pharmacy are manufactured overseas anyway. And we have the lobbyists for the pharmaceutical companies to thank for that!

Folks, we are being screwed and it’s a damn outrage.



Mike said...

Medicare Part D was the greatest gift the Republican Party could ever give Pharma.

Grateful my mother's Medicare Supplement has a decent drug benefit and we don't have to mess w/ Part D.

Susan Och said...

And you are healthy enough and have retained enough of your marbles to actually do the research. How the heck is a 90 year old computer illiterate supposed to cope with this?

JIM LOOMIS said...

Yes, exactly ... I was trying to picture my dad, when he was in his late 80s, trying to deal with it. Impossible!