QUESTION: I have been talking with some friends about health care coverage and the conversation turned to the cost of prescriptions. It seems each time I pick up a prescription the cost is higher. Any suggestions on how to cut costs?
ANSWER: There are a number of steps you can take and it should start with reviewing what you are currently taking, talking with your doctor and if you are seeing more than one doctor the review should make sure no drugs are being duplicated.
To start make a complete list of the prescriptions you are currently taking and then arrange a session with your doctor to review that list.
Your questions should include: 1) Are there and duplications?, 2) Can any of them be eliminated?, and 3) Are any of the drugs brand drugs, and if so, is there a generic or less expensive brand that can be substituted?
You should also explain to your doctor that price is important to you as many doctors are not aware of the cost of many of the drugs.
The next step is to understand your insurance coverage. Determine what you might be able to do to make your insurance work better for you. Can you order by mail? Many health plans offer this option. Ordering a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply might save you money.
Many plans use preferred pharmacies that provide discounts to their enrollees. If your plan doesn’t have such a plan then compare prices at several drug stores. Once you select a particular drug store it is best to use that store for all your prescriptions.
Now that you have a new list of your prescriptions needs it is time to determine if the plan you currently have for 2018 will serve you well in 2019.
Checking your Medicare Part D- Prescription Drug Coverage is a very important step to make each year during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period – October 15 through December 7. One-Step-Shops where trained counselors can help you determine what plan will be best for you are scheduled throughout the county. For information on where and when one of these One-Stop-Shops is scheduled in your area call your local senior center or (805) 477-7310 or (800) 434-0222.
HAPPENINGS: (November 4 through November 10)
WEDNESDAY – November 7 – 1:00 pm – Thousand Oaks Council on Aging presents – “Reverse Mortgages: Everything You Need to Know” – at the Civic Arts Plaza Boardroom, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.
THURSDAY – November 8 – 10:00 to 11:30 am – Seminar -“Understanding Dementia” – at Agoura Hills Recreation & Event Center, 29900 Ladyface Court in Agoura Hills. For reservations call (818) 597-7361.
THURSDAY – November 8 – 9:00 to 10:00 am – Presentation – “Ageless Grace Brain Health Fitness” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call (805) 381-2744.
THURSDAY/FRIDAY – November 8 & 9 – 8:30 am to 12:30 pm – AARP Driver Safety Initial 8-Hour Smart Driver Course – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call (805) 381-2744.
FRIDAY – November 9 -8:30 am – Veterans Day Breakfast & USO Show – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Event is free but tickets are required and are available at Goebel’s front desk.
NOVEMBER – Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurses Association’s diabetes classes. Wednesday November 7 – 10:00 am to noon at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi; 2:30 to 4:00 pm at Camarillo Community Center, 1605 Burnley Street and Tuesday November 6 – 1:00 to 2:30 pm at Livingston Memorial Community Room, 1996 Eastman Avenue in Ventura. For information call (805) 642-0239. No registration needed – just drop in.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.