I read the whole Medicare and you Manual. It’s like reading an encyclopedia. But I’ve done that for the last four years and the first thing I noticed was this year was a little clearer, which means either I learned more or they did.
Still, it’s pretty overwhelming and too much time to waste if you’d rather be doing something else with your “golden years” than having a relationship with your Healthcare company.
So I’m going to try to break it down into easy steps.
1. Except there’s no easy steps here yet:
Start with logging on to Medicare.gov––
My computer kept messing up the pages and wouldn’t load them. Then it kept acting as though I hadn’t typed anything in. I realize that there are always tech glitches so I’m trying not to blame it on Medicare. I wonder what those people who can’t use a computer do. I’ve called a ton of times and I’m thinking maybe the site is busy but I can’t whip up the energy to call Medicare again because it wastes the whole day.
I’ve called so many times and had to hold on forever, it seemed this was easier but I may have to reconsider.
2. Of course if you don’t have a computer, you have to get a friend, a neighbor or someone who loves you to go on their computer or call 1-800-Medicare and talk to an agent.
One of the things I found different this year is that most of the people who answered the phone were pleasant but that could have been cause I wasn’t such a frustrated nut…or maybe it’s because they finally are beginning to understand some of the language on this rocky road. Who knows?
3. But before anything else, you have to unload your wallet and grab your Medicare Card. Go to Medicare.gov and begin to enter the information.
Then you better get all your pill bottles and anything else you know you’ve taken (like antibiotics or skin creams or allergy medicines that your doctor prescribed in the last year) and enter them in the list of drugs.
That’s a little time consuming but once you do, run out a few copies (I did 10) so you can compare the plans when you call them.
4. Now, the thing is that they automatically ask if you want to lower the cost of your drugs. Who would say no? But then they substitute generic drugs for your usual brand names. Depending on how you feel about taking generics, you can choose. But keep this in mind: there are generic equivalents, and generic alternatives. One has the same active ingredients, the other is a drug ordered for the same condition..but not the same drug.
That’s something to pay attention to!