[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: How to Lower Your Medicare Drug Costs | Commentary by Greg Dill | 05-16-2017
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
77°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 26
1946 - Open-casket service for William S. Hart at his Newhall home; Rudy Vallee sings "The Last Round-up" [story]


Driving near Monterey recently, I stopped at a roadside stand to buy some freshly-picked strawberries. May is high season for California strawberries, and the fields were exploding with beautiful, ripe fruit.

The gentleman working the stand, Jack, asked what I do for a living. When I told him I work for Medicare, he said he was having difficulty paying for his prescription drugs. So we talked for a while about ways he might be able to reduce his drug costs.

If you have Medicare and you’re having trouble paying for prescription drugs, signing up for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug coverage may help, even if you have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.

There are other ways you may be able to save. Consider switching to drugs that cost less. Ask your doctor if there are generic, over-the-counter, or less expensive brand-name drugs that could work just as well as the ones you’re taking now.

Switching to lower-cost drugs can save you hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars a year. Visit the Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan to get information on ways to save money in your Medicare drug plan. Or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and ask our customer service representatives.

You may also be able to lower your Medicare prescription drug costs by:

* Exploring national- and community-based programs that may help you with your drug costs, like the National Patient Advocate Foundation or the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Get information on federal, state, and private assistance programs in your area on the Benefits Check Up website at benefitscheckup.org. The help you get from some of these programs may count toward your true out-of-pocket (TrOOP) costs. TrOOP costs are the expenses that count toward your Medicare drug plan out-of-pocket expenses—up to $4,950 in 2017. These costs determine when your catastrophic coverage will begin.

* Looking into Manufacturer’s Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (sometimes called Patient Assistance Programs) offered by the makers of the drugs you take. Many major drug manufacturers offer assistance for people enrolled in a Medicare drug plan.

Find out whether the manufacturers of the drugs you take offer assistance by visiting Medicare.gov/pharmaceutical-assistance-program or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Such assistance programs aren’t part of Medicare Part D, so any help you get from this type of program won’t count toward your TrOOP costs.

* Applying for Extra Help paying for your Medicare prescription drugs. If you have Medicare and have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Extra Help. To apply for Extra Help, contact Social Security by visiting socialsecurity.gov/i1020 or by calling 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778. Extra Help can save you thousands of dollars on drug costs.

If you need help finding resources like the ones described above, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and ask for free personalized counseling for people with Medicare.

To get the phone number for your state’s SHIP, visit shiptacenter.org, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

And if you’re wondering whether Jack charged me for the strawberries, he did offer them for free. But since helping people with Medicare is a big part of my job, I told him I preferred to pay despite his kind offer.

We settled on a fair price, along with some freshly baked shortcake.

 

Greg Dill is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Sunday, Jun 25, 2017
The Antiquities Act does not give a president the authority to revoke a national monument from a previous administration, but a sitting president can change the boundaries of a national monument. Under congressional authority, Congress can also convert a national monument to a national park, which has been done on several occasions.
Thursday, Jun 22, 2017
Hooded orioles must be the most beautiful birds you can see in your backyard. They will be here until the third week of August, so catch a glimpse while you can.
Tuesday, Jun 20, 2017
Did you know the America’s Job Center of California at College of the Canyons is a FREE resource to help your business find the employees that it needs?
Monday, Jun 19, 2017
The Cadiz Project aims to provide a supplemental supply and storage opportunity in Southern California for local water agencies by conserving water presently lost to high-salinity and evaporation at dry lake playas that serve as the only outflow pf a 1.300-square-mile desert watershed.
Sunday, Jun 18, 2017
If you hope to live longer, you might consider a big move to Minnesota or Wisconsin, or you might choose an easier path to health by improving your odds where you live.
Friday, Jun 16, 2017
If you have Medicare as well as other insurance, always be sure to tell your doctor, hospital and pharmacy. This is important because it determines whether your medical bills are paid correctly and on time.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1946 - Open-casket service for William S. Hart at his Newhall home; Rudy Vallee sings "The Last Round-up" [story]
Firefighters battle a fast-moving blaze that consumed 850 acres Sunday afternoon and destroyed structures on the Disney movie ranch in Placerita Canyon. Sparked by a car crash, the fire threatened homes on both sides of the 14 Freeway.
Updated: Placerita Fire Burns 870 Acres; Disney Cabins Lost (Video)
The historic Oak of the Golden Dream and the Walker Cabin were threatened by Sunday's fire but were saved by fire crews. The entryway to the park, the upper parking lot and part of the Butterfly Garden were charred.
Oak of Golden Dream Saved from Fire; Park Entrance Scorched
The Antiquities Act does not give a president the authority to revoke a national monument from a previous administration, but a sitting president can change the boundaries of a national monument. Under congressional authority, Congress can also convert a national monument to a national park, which has been done on several occasions.
The Scoop on National Monuments | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
1859 - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in L.A. County; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin [story]
1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Heritage Junction [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the Santa Clarita Deputies’s Commercial burglary operation caught two suspects. Plus, the Saxtravaganza returns to Hart Hall. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, June 23, 2017
The California Wilderness Coalition applauds Rep. Judy Chu for introducing legislation to protect more than 31,000 acres of Wilderness and nearly 46 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains.
House Bill Would Protect Portions of Angeles National Forest
Los Angeles County’s cannabis regulation efforts have entered an important new phase with the convening of a diverse advisory group made up of health and policy experts, community leaders, cannabis industry representatives and other key stakeholders.
L.A. County Cannabis Advisory Team Begins Work in June
An al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula senior leader was killed in Yemen’s Shabwah governorate by a June 16 U.S. airstrike, U.S. Central Command said in a release.
Senior al-Qaida Leader Killed by U.S. Airstrike
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that California will prohibit state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas based on discriminatory legislation enacted in each state.
California Prohibits State-Funded Travel to Four States
Circle of Hope is growing. In an effort to expand the scope of the nonprofit's aid to local cancer sufferers, the originally breast-cancer-only organization added additional cancers to its Client Advocacy Program over the past few years, including the most recent, malignant melanoma.
Circle of Hope Announces New Logo
Princess Cruises has announced that Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, will serve as Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises in China and officially name the new Majestic Princess during a ceremony and gala celebration.
Princess Cruises to Name Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors in China
The Moorpark Unified School District is very pleased to announce the employment of Ms. Anne Gibson as Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.
SCV Resident Named a Moorpark Assistant Superintendent
Burglary suppression operations helped Santa Clarita deputies nab a pair of alleged burglars breaking into a Valencia realty office Friday, officials said.
Two Suspects Arrested During Burglary Suppression Operations
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in East San Gabriel Valley, San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Clarita Valley tomorrow, Saturday, June 23.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a heat alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the Santa Clarita Valley on Sunday, June 25, and Monday, June 26.
High Heat Alert for SCV Sunday and Monday
Nearly a dozen productions including commercials, features, TV shows and a student project are shooting in Santa Clarita next week.
Filming in SCV June 26-July 2: Commercials, Features, TV
As the Fourth of July approaches, the city of Santa Clarita, the SCV Sheriff’s Station and the County Fire Department want to send the clear message that the city has zero tolerance for fireworks.
Santa Clarita Has Zero Tolerance for All Fireworks
Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), along with Rep Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), introduced legislation, H.R. 3033, the Aeronautics Innovation Act of 2017, which would create funding and programmatic stability for NASA.
Knight Introduces Aeronautics Innovation Act of 2017
Organizers of the 5th annual SCV Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 7 are seeking additional sponsorships from Santa Clarita Valley companies and business owners.
Business Sponsorships Sought for SCV Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Here's a roundup of crimes now being investigated by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station detectives in Newhall, Zone 3:
Blotter: Newhall, Zone 6 – 06/12/17 to 06/18/17
Agenda for the Santa Clarita City Council's regular meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, June 27, starting at 5:30 p.m.
June 27: Santa Clarita City Council Regular Meeting
Agenda for the Santa Clarita City Council's Special Meeting, City Hall Chambers, Tuesday, June 27 at 5:30 p.m.
June 27: Santa Clarita City Council Special Meeting
Agenda for the Arts Commission Study Session June 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Century Room at City Hall.
June 26: Agenda for Arts Commission Study Session
The Lancaster JetHawks hit three home runs and took a 7-5 lead to the ninth, but the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes rallied for an 8-7 victory to open the season's second half on Thursday night at The Hangar.
JetHawks Drop Second Half Opener to Quakes Thursday
Stevenson Ranch: Zone 3, Public Safety Report for the week of 06/12/17 to 06/18/17.
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Vandalism in Stevenson Ranch
1946, 11:20pm: William S. Hart, 81, dies at L.A.'s California Lutheran Hospital, leaving his Newhall home and 80-acre estate to L.A. County [story]
June 30 is the deadline for Santa Clarita residents to submit entries to the city's quarterly photo contest.
June 30: Last Day to Enter City’s Summer Photo Contest
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a road rage incident is caught on camera. Plus, local deputies work on a crime suppression operation. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, June 22, 2017
Olympian Alysia Montaño, a graduate of Canyon High School and a seven-time national champion, is competing in the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships as she did in 2014 -- while pregnant.
Olympian Alysia Montaño Races Pregnant for a Second Time
A road rage incident on Highway 14 near Newhall Avenue Wednesday morning resulted in a two-car crash and a motorcyclist who remains at large, according to CHP officials.
CHP Seeks Motorcyclist in Road Rage Crash
While Mark Bradford and Sharon Lockhart represent the United States and Poland, respectively, in the prestigious Venice Bienniale (La Biennale di Venezia), two other CalArtians' work is also on view there.
CalArtians Danz and Rosero in 57th Biennale International Art Exhibition
CalArts has named Dimitri Chamblas, former artistic director of the Paris Opera’s creative digital platform 3rd Scene, as the new Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance.
CalArts Names Dimitri Chamblas Dean of Lund School of Dance
Los Angeles County supervisors have scheduled a special meeting on Monday, June 26, to consider final approval of the county's $30 million-plus 2017-18 budget.
June 26: County Weighs Budget, Expecting State and Federal Cuts
Bond oversight legislation authored by California State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley) has been given the thumbs-up by the Assembly Education Committee.
Wilk School Bond Oversight Bill Clears Assembly Policy Committee