A heads up for seniors


Alameda seniors: Beware of hidden cost increases in your Medicare Part D insurance next year! It is very important to review what your Part D insurer is offering each and every year. You may see from the information they provide that they are changing the monthly premium. That’s not all. 

Each year, the insurance company can change its “formulary.” This document, which might be only available from your insurer online, explains what drugs they will cover, and how much the co-payment will be. If they drop a medication from their formulary, your costs can sky-rocket. Also, some insurers offer more than one plan, and the formulary is different for each plan. It boggles the mind, but you need to do your homework.

For example, my insurer dropped two of my generic medications from their formulary for 2018.  By switching plans and getting my doctor to recommend one different generic, I have been able to reduce my 2018 estimated drug costs from $4,632 to $400!

A good place to start is the Medicare.gov website, where you can enter all of your current medications into their system, and Medicare will estimate the annual cost for drugs from all of the Part D plans available in Alameda. If it’s too complicated, go to the senior center for help.

Also, write U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee and tell her we need legislation to keep the insurance and pharmaceutical industries from scamming the senior population this way.


Stephen Lowens