Medicare Extra Help Program

In addition to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, there is more help available to pay for prescriptions and premiums to those who qualify. This is called the Extra Help Program. Many people are not aware that this help exists, and therefore don’t apply for it.

Information about this program can be found at the Social Security website located here: http://ssa.gov/pubs/10525.html. It lists the eligibility requirements and gives directions for filling out an online application. It also directs you to help that may be available through your state, called the Medicare Savings Program. If you need assistance with the application or would like to talk to someone, they can be reached at 1-800-772-1213.

This is worth looking into even if you don’t think you qualify or have been turned downed before.

Medicare Part D Savings

If you are currently enrolled in the Medicare Part D prescription program, you may or may not know that the deadline for enrollment this year ends on December 7th. That means that if you want to change your plan, you must do so by that date. However, if you don’t make any changes, you don’t need to do anything.

The Medicare Part D drug program is complex, and once people are enrolled, they find it easier to keep the same plan rather than researching the options to see if they can save money. According to the November AARP bulletin, many people are paying more for their prescriptions than necessary because they fail to investigate alternative plans.

In order to determine the best plan for you, go to the website for Medicare at http://www.medicare.gov/default.aspx. It asks for your zip code and then tells you what plans are available in your area. You then put in the prescriptions you take and their dosages, and it will tell you which plan would charge you the least for those drugs. That site also rates the various plans as well as giving information about the services and tests Medicare covers. If you would prefer to discuss your options with someone, you may call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.

Buy Eyeglasses Online

Eyeglasses at the eye doctor are expensive. I can buy 10 pairs of glasses online for the same price as one in the doctors office.

When you get a checkup, ask for your prescription and the measurements for your glasses. This includes the pupillary distance (PD). This is important because the vision will look distorted if this is not correct. Also, measure your current glasses and use these measurements as a comparison for the glasses on the web.

I bought glasses from a few different websites and had the best success with Firmoo.com. My glasses arrived after about a week and it cost about $50 for two pairs. Firmoo has some coupon codes listed here.

Where Can I Get Medical Insurance?

Try our health insurance quote page, check with your current insurance provider, and see if you can qualify through your employer, school, or activity groups.

See your county health department to find out if you qualify for state sponsored health insurance or Medicaid. If you recently lost your job, you may be able to buy COBRA health insurance (sometimes called continuation coverage). Go to the U.S. Department of Labor website (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.HTML) to find out more about COBRA.

How to Lower Health Insurance Premiums

If you wish to retain your current benefits, then you will have to shop around for a better price. Take your current policy to several local agents and see if there is a difference. Also, check the Internet.

You could also change your premium by raising your deductible, the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in. The greater the deductible, the less expensive the premium. Also, you can change your co-pay ratio. This is how much you have to pay after the deductible has been met. For example, a typical policy is 80/20. This means that the insurance company pays 80% and you pay 20%. If you change this so the insurance company has to pay only 60% and you pay 40%, then your premiums will be reduced. By raising your deductible and/or co-pay you will lower your premiums, but if you need the insurance you will end up paying more out-of-pocket.

Another way to lower your premiums is to change your lifestyle by stopping smoking, driving safer, and eliminating dangerous hobbies such as hang gliding or flying. Improve your health by losing weight, lowering your blood pressure and improving your cholesterol numbers. Then try shopping around for a new policy with the new improved you.

How to Buy Catastrophic Health Insurance?

Catastrophic health insurance covers you for the big expenses such as major medical and hospital expenses, but doesn’t pay for the smaller costs such as doctor visits, prescriptions, etc. For example, if you got in a car accident and had to spend time in the hospital, you would be covered. However, if you want to visit your local doctor and get an allergy prescription you would not be covered.

You have to consider what things you want to be covered, your deductible (how much you pay before the insurance kicks in), and the maximum lifetime limit of your benefit. You can start by visiting a local insurance agent or try this health insurance quote page.

How Does Long Term Health Care Insurance Work?

Long term health care insurance is a type of insurance that pays for long term care services in many settings, such as at home, a nursing home, assisted living facility, or adult day care facility. It goes beyond normal health insurance, covering expenses not covered under private health insurance, Medicare or Medicare supplement policies.

It works like this: You apply for coverage. If you are accepted, then you begin paying your premiums. Later, if you need long term care, you will be reimbursed for covered long term care up to the amount of coverage you bought. You may be responsible for an initial period of care, depending on your policy. Most policies require you to pay for the first 30, 60 or 90 days of care, called the elimination period. Different plans have different options for type and length of care, daily dollar amount, inflation protection, and length of elimination period.

You become eligible to receive benefits once a doctor certifies that you are unable to perform certain “activities of daily living” (ADLs), or are cognitively impaired because of senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Most commonly the ADLs used to determine the need for services include bathing, dressing, transferring (getting from a bed to a chair), toileting, eating, and continence.

Save On Prescription Drugs

Ask Your Doctor! Many doctors get paid by drug companies to push expensive brand-name medicines. When a doctor prescribes you a medicine, ask, “How much will this cost me?”, and “Is a generic equivalent available?” If the medicine is expensive, get a second opinion!

Buy Generics. When a generic medication is available, use it. They are just as safe and effective as name-brand medicines.

Wal-mart. For all their faults, Wal-mart is probably the best place to get affordable medicine. They offer automatic refills by mail on their website. They sell 30 day supplies of many medicines for only $4. Gotta give them credit where it’s due.

Free Savings Card I’ve been told that you can save money by using free prescription drug savings cards. You don’t need to provide any information or do anything besides print out a free card and bring it to your pharmacy.

Healthy? Buy Health Insurance Now!

If you are in good health and uninsured, then buy health insurance now before it’s too late. Once you get sick, you can’t get insurance. Don’t get caught in the trap!

High-Deductible Plans. For the self insured, a high deductible health plan (HDHP) is probably cheaper than you think. With these plans you will pay routine costs yourself, but you are covered in case of a serious health issue. In 2009, these plans cost as little as $80/month.

Health Savings Account. If you insure yourself with a high-deductible plan, you are eligible for tax deductions using a Health Savings Account.

Doctors Screw the Uninsured. Insurance companies use their group buying power to negotiate lower rates from doctors. Even if your insurance doesn’t pay, you still get the lower rate just for having insurance. In my experience, the average savings is about 50%.

Don’t Be A Statistic. Did you know that 60% of bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical bills? But that’s not the worst thing. Every year, 45,000 Americans die because they can’t afford medical care. Don’t let it happen to you. Get insured now!

Convinced? Check out our health insurance quote page when you’re ready to get insurance.