I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. Looks like winter’s finally settling in. I don’t know about you but I’m already ready for spring. Thank you so much to those of you who sent me referrals. I had a very busy Annual Election Period (AEP) this fall and it was due mostly to your referrals. So, thank you very much. They keep me in business.
I would like to remind you that even though I only talk about a few different Medicare companies I examine all of them and I am licensed with all the major companies. So, if you hear of a company that sounds really good and you think you might be interested, just give me a call.
I also want to let you know that although AEP is over, we are now starting a new time period called Open Enrollment Period (OEP) where those people with a Medicare Advantage plan can make one switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or back to original Medicare if they want to. They can do this in January, February, or March. The OEP is for people who made a switch in the fall and discovered it’s not what they expected. So, if you made a switch and want to go back to the plan you had either due to a doctor not being in network or some prescription coverage not being as good as you thought or for any other reason, just let me know. As long as the paperwork is done by the end of March, the new plan can start April 1st. Please keep this in mind if you have a friend or family member in that same situation.
Prescription Savings. For most of you this is a reminder, but I want to let you know that you do not have to use your prescription drug card when you go to the pharmacy. You can ask them what the cash price is or use a GoodRX card or some other discount prescription card. This is because your insurance card is not always the cheapest way to go. There are even price differences for the same prescription at the different “preferred pharmacies”. If you’re really trying to save money on prescriptions, it does pay to occasionally call several different pharmacies and find out what their costs are for your prescriptions with your insurance card, find out what the cash price is, and then also look them up on GoodRX, RX Saver, and GeniusRX. You’ve heard me talk about GoodRX before because it saves people money. There are also a few other cards out there, one being RxSaver (it uses Drug Mart ) that is frequently a little bit cheaper than GoodRX. If you’re on any Tier 3 or 4 drugs, you should definitely do a lot of price shopping on those. At the GeniusRX website, you can get new prescriptions or refills if you can’t wait for your own doctor. You can actually talk to a doctor online there. Just go to geniusrx.com or you can call them at
800-964-9654. Another way some people save on prescriptions is to talk to the doctor and see if the pill can be cut in half. If the doctor can double the milligram prescription, it’s usually the same price for the prescription. Cutting the pill in half is like buy one month get the second month free. I also have people getting their drugs out of Canada. They use canadadrugsdirect.com so you can check that one out as well. Don’t forget to give a 90 or 100 day mail order a try for at least one or two of your prescriptions. It will definitely save you some money on Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs. For anyone interested, Walmart does have its own brand of insulin for $45 for a 6 pack of vials. Of course, you have to check with your doctor but this might help those of you who hit the Donut hole near the end of the year.
Medicare has a new drug regulation out now on disposing of old prescriptions. Medicare wants you to take your old prescriptions to a take back site. There’s no way Medicare is going to enforce correct drug disposal but they are now strongly encouraging it. Most of your CVS stores and some of your Giant Eagle and Walmart stores have take back sites where you can drop off old drugs. To find other collection sites you can go to bit.ly/take-back-sites or call 800-882-9539.
For those looking to save some money on cable and Internet bills, Kiplinger magazine recommends shopping around at broadbandnow.com. This site makes it easy to compare plans, prices and customer ratings for internet providers. You can also call during a weekday afternoon when they’re not too busy and ask for the cancellation department. They suggest being nice and instead of complaining about the high price just say “I would really like to stay with your company but my new rate is out of my price range. Is there anything you could do for me?” They recommend that you do not take the first offer they give you but to push back a little bit. If they can’t give you a better price, ask them if there’s any extra perks they could give you like maybe six months of free HBO or something like that.
Scams. There are a ton of scams out there so continue being careful. The FBI estimates that seniors lose more than $3 billion a year to scammers. The top four most common scam topics are travel and timeshares, online shopping, romance and investments. Another common one is people overpaying you for something whether it’s on Craigslist or a job or anything. Anyone who “accidentally” overpays you for something should be an immediate red flag. This is because the scammer then asks you to pay that back quickly so that they have time to cancel your original overpayment and you end up losing money. If you’re looking to purchase something online from a company you’re not familiar with, type the company name in the search engine and then type in scams or reviews or complaints to see how legitimate the company is.
To help protect yourself from scams and people hacking into your phone or computer, first of all be sure to use strong original passwords for each different account. Make sure you have two factor authentication on your accounts. Also, do not let yourself be rushed into making a decision. One of the best protections we have is a gut check with a family member or friend. So, before you make a purchase or send money, ask someone you trust what they think. If you don’t have anyone to ask you can call AARP helpline at 877-908-3360 and they can give you advice as well. To research more on your own, you can just search “latest senior scams” and find many sites that will list recent scams.
Since I was so busy this AEP, I didn’t get a chance to review benefits with a lot of people. So, I have enclosed the extra paper as a review of your benefits along with contact information to help you use those benefits. Those of you with a Medicare supplement there is no paper since your benefits have not changed.
My family and I are doing very well. My wife, Cathy, left her job this fall to help me out with my business and also help out her dad on the farm. My son Andrew is doing very well at his youth pastor job at Mission View Bible church and his wife, Allie, likes her new job at PNC Bank. The big news is I am a grandpa again! My son Nathan and his wife LaRee had their second son in October. God is good as it was another healthy boy and they named him Azariah. Big brother Elijah will be turning 2 in February. Nathan has also started a new job and seems to be doing well and likes it. So overall my family and I are very blessed. Also, for those interested our church is doing another Sportman’s Dinner Raffle on Saturday January 29th at 5:00. Tickets will be sold online at protagechapel.com and the raffle can be viewed there as well if you are not comfortable going to a public place like that.
We updated the mailing list so if you know someone who should have received a letter but didn’t, please have them call me. If you want to change the way you receive your letter (email or paper) just let me know.
Thank you again for your referrals and please keep them coming. I really appreciate the trust you have in me to take care of your medical needs. Please keep in mind that if a need ever arises regarding life insurance or IRA or 401K rollovers I can help there as well. Stay warm and have a great new year.