Assistance will soon be available for Kay County area residents in evaluating the best and most cost-effective choice among Medicare Part “D” Drug Plans for 2019, based on their particular medications. ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, and other volunteers, who have been trained in the use of the computer modeling program provided by Medicare, will be offering this individual help. There is no cost for this assistance, which will be available to all area seniors and not just to those formerly employed by Conoco, ConocoPhillips, or Phillips 66 and their families.
Volunteers will be available Monday through Friday, Oct. 22 to Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pioneer Technology Center, 2101 North Ash, Ponca City. Appointments are required for this community service. Individuals interested in making an appointment are asked to call Ponca City Senior Center at 763-8051. The appointments will usually take about 45 minutes.
Each person should bring his or her Medicare Card and prescription drug bottles/containers to the appointment to help ensure the correct drug information is available. Lists of medications with the milligram dosage and the frequency taken may cause confusion because many drugs have similar names and difficult spellings. The actual drug bottles will help ensure that the correct dosages and drugs are evaluated. This is critical because if the wrong information is used the results will not be totally valid.
The procedure at the appointment will involve reviewing each person’s 2018 Part D drug plan and comparing it with the Medicare Part D plans available in 2019. Some participants will find that the Medicare D plan they are presently enrolled in is still the best plan for them for next year, and no change will be necessary. For others the volunteers will determine there is a better and more cost-effective plan and, if desired, they will help with enrollment in the new plan.
There are two things to consider when choosing a Medicare Part D drug plan, according to Chuck Clark, coordinator. The first is to make sure that the drug plan being considered covers the particular prescriptions the person is currently taking, and the second is to insure that the plan being considered is the best and most cost-effective of the plans that cover those prescriptions. Following the modeling, each person will have the needed information to make an informed decision on which drug insurance plan is best for them.
It is important to note that spouses do not have to enroll in the same prescription drug plan, and in some cases they could save a considerable amount of money by enrolling in different drug plans.
This is the 12th year this type of assistance has been offered. The average annual savings per person has been over $600 just by changing the drug plan insurer. Last year more than 400 Medicare recipients used this appointment service, and it provided a total of over $250,000 a year in savings for those area residents. In the 11 years this community service has been provided, it has saved residents a total of over 2.5 million dollars.
The sponsors for this program are the ConocoPhillips Retirees Association, Ponca City Senior Center, Pioneer Technology Center, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Kay County (RSVP), and the Community Health Foundation of Ponca City. Since drug plan costs vary from year to year, the sponsors encourage all Medicare recipients to make this computer comparison annually — whether on their own or with the assistance offered.