Monday, August 24, 2009

Thank You, Walgreen's

In the past several months I was forced to look for a new prescription coverage insurance company. I had coverage for my medications from my former employer who suddenly gave up offering such insurance for its employees and ex-employees. I was now faced with the task of finding someone new who would cover all my medications under the Medicare system. I first called the insurance agent who had helped me a few years earlier to find someone to give me secondary coverage for Medicare. He had been very helpful at that time. This time he let me down. I guess there was no profit in it for him, and he seemed disinterested. He did half-heartedly supply a company name for me.

I then went on line myself, checking out the name he had given me, and others. The number of companies out there was mind-boggling. Their web sites were very confusing to me. I have used computers for several years now, but for mostly recreational purposes. Even while I was still working, my computer use was restricted pretty much to certain programs used by our department. I am far from computer literate in other areas. I can't help but think of the thousands of people my age who have had no experience at all on a computer. As we grow older, our minds are not as sharp as they once were, despite our attempts to keep them active. And for many of us physical problems add to this.

The insurance company I chose has turned out to be completely unsatisfactory, and pretty darned expensive. Having no previous experience with such coverage, I really didn't know what questions to ask, and they didn't give me much detailed information up front. I've learned the hard way. So at this point I need to find another company, and prepare to make the change in November, when such a change is permitted.

I am fortunate in that we have a Walgreen's Pharmacy nearby now. That is where I turned for help this time. They took a list of all my current medications and supplied me with a print-out of all the companies available to me - ALL 64 OF THEM - and listed the first five they consider as offering the best plans for me. They gave me the estimated costs and showed me which medications on my list were covered, as well as other pertinent information.

I can't tell you how much this is helping me! For other seniors out there, I strongly recommend visiting Walgreen's, or some other pharmacy if you can find one offering this kind of help. It is a daunting task without their help. When the Medicare Rx plan was proposed, I wanted no part of it, and was disgusted with AARP's backing of it. They got it through, and now we're stuck with it. 64 different companies? Gee, thanks. And every one of them (including AARP of course) out to profit from it to the max. They tell us that AARP is non-profit. I'm afraid I would take some convincing on that one. They seem to me to work against the people they claim to be working for. I suppose I could be wrong - God knows, that's happened before - but I certainly don't champion some of their causes. And any time I have had occasion to telephone them, I find them extremely unhelpful, whatever my question or problem.

At any rate, come November I hope to find myself happier with my insurance and just a little better off financially. Ya gotta have hope.

What makes the choice so difficult is that there is no such thing as the perfect plan for all. What would be ideal for one, is disaster for another, based on which particular medications the individual must take. Some medications cost at least a couple of hundred dollars a month, and so co-pays are astronomical, and vary company to company.

I do appreciate some of the comments I have received, but if I can't figure it out in my own case, how could I hope to make sense of it for other people? Common sense is one thing. Sorting through economics and life situations for a stranger is something else entirely.


Rambling Woods said...

Health insurance is a nightmare. We have been covering our daughter's COBRA costs in between her jobs and it covers nothing and is expensive. Thanks for the seniors and Walgreens Tip Bobbie....

annies home said...

love walgreens here as well

Dianne said...

it is in no way your computer savvy that is at issue

I worked on databases and client sites
I did research
I used the internet since the day Al Gore gave birth to it

the company sites are BS, designed to confuse, they have nothing to gain from transparency and everything to gain from frustration and panic

Kudos to Walgreens!!

Daryl said...

You know you are a very smart woman and if you were up to it, I would say try to get a job working as an elder advocate .. doing for other what you do for yourself and share here .. I am sure in your area alone there are many who would benefit from the advice, suggestions and experiences you have!

Sylvia K said...

I've had very good service and prices from Medicare Complete and they ship free to my house. I get a reminder when it's time to renew and you can order online or by phone (free 800 #)and they're very helpful when I have questions. My doctor can fax in a new prescription direct from his office. They keep track of what and when I order.

But whatever works for each of us is definitely the way to go.

Have a great week, Bobbie!

Sylvia said...

I am glad to hear of your success with Walgreens. As frustrated as you may feel I agree with Daryl Bobbie, you are a very smart woman. Good job!

kenju said...

We have Humana. I wonder if that was one of the companies suggested to you?

Celeste Maia said...

So glad you found Walgreens being helpful. I agree with Daryl, you should definitely find a job helping other people, you are so resourceful and committed.

Unknown said...

I agree with Dianne about how the companies set up their websites to "trick" consumers who so desperately need coverage. It's criminal.

I hope you get things sorted out okay. I hate to keep saying it but I can see how my mother, who lives in Portugal, is so much better off there than here. Portugal is the poorest member of the EU. Our excuse? Communism will take over???