The Retirees Association (TRA) Huntsville MEDICAL Page
Canadian Pharmacy Connections

Note: Several prescription drugs, including Viagara ($48± per pill), are probably not covered by any plan, and many prescription drugs are extremely expensive during some insurance phases such as plans that are connected with the government's Medicare Part C and D - (for 65+).  Several of our members report they use drugs that cost thousands of dollars per month during the "coverage gap" aka "donut hole phase" (discussed below). Canadian drug purchases are not combinable in any way with US or Medicare drug plans, but some may find some drug purchases via this method can save money.

PLEASE SEE NOTE BELOW IMPORTANT might be used for several drugs that are no longer covered at all by our plans including Viagra (100mg $14.95 per tablet vs typical $48 per tablet in the US),  Janumet is another to control blood sugar level, see their site for list, prices and method. Requires a valid prescription and payment like any web order.   Again, this cannot be combined with any insurance, does not apply to anything here, totally separate transaction at your risk.

Rx drug purchases if made to a legitimate Canadian seller (97% of those "Canadian" drugs so identified online are not so*) may save 70% of your cost with but such transactions are not in any way involved or do they mix with U.S. medical plans and will not count toward getting you in or out of an insurance phase this would be private to you and your risk. We may have members using this path which may be technically illegal but people ask about it.  Please review the literature such as:
  Buying Drugs Online, Outsourcing Medications (WebMD)
* How Do I Know If An Online Pharmacy Is Legitimate - Consumer Reports  (only 3% are legit)
Legitimate Vendors:  Exist.

Rx: Medicare Part C and D -Based Prescription Drug Plans

☂ THE BASICS:  Some retirees 65+ use a company partially subsidized Medicare Part C and D plan that involves a commercial insurer with cost and coverage variations, that can be changed before annual late fall deadline.  Qualified participants must initially contact the selected "insurance exchange" to compare plans and may review this selection each fall or it shall continue into the next year usually with cost increases. Qualified retirees and their spouses may drop in or out of the plan annually.

The subsidy for some might also extend for use toward dental and optical insurance.

☂  Opting in or out? Call our company Benefits:   800 894-4194        Once signed up Benefits will forward your info to OneExhchange so you can sign up for either or both spouses so as to receive assisting stipends. 

Upon a new set-up call to OneExchange, an appointment is arranged which for a lengthy session could take an hour. Each family participant meets at separate times not together.  When that time comes you call them, then they call back in short order.  If they do not call in a short time, call them at  855 832-0976 and tell them this is your appointment time.

There are two basic types of Medicare (A & B) supplemental health insurance, the better "Type F" (no copays) is usually a much better value for more medical needs and covers everything over "Type N" which has co-pays. Prescription drug coverage is another animal.  You must have ready all your current or occasional drugs, names, preferring the generic name and dosages. This will be used by the representative using their computers with all available plans in your area, to locate the best plan for you.  The use of a Rx drug plan's mail order option can be highly advantageous especially in service and convenience. Mail order continually-needed drugs are cheaper ordered 90 days at a time from annual prescriptions and can be scheduled to arrive automatically. When selected, you can still obtain suddenly needed new temporary drugs from your drug store, often a plan will charge you less at some preferred pharmacies.

Drugs prices are assigned "tiers" which indicate prices which are extremely variable from almost free, to thousands of dollars at times.  The price to you is the thing, the terms "Tier One and Two" generally refer to low cost drugs. If the representative tells you the overall monthly cost of your drugs, try to get a break-down for each one although they will be correct, you may want to consider their individual costs. 

Each partner may select the same or different Medicare supplemental medical insurance plans (doctors, hospitals, drugs while hospitalized, surgery), or the same or different prescription drug plan carriers.  Combining plans to the same carrier may not be crucial, they will tell you the best deals. 

The cost of medical insurance policies will tend to increase each year but not your stipend. These plans based upon Medicare Plans A, B, C, D, involve the government with significant political discussions and promises of changes by various. 

Medicare Part A and B which provides basic Medicare coverage itself from age 65 must also be purchased, there is a small cost automatically deducted from your Social Security payment, which is discussed when you sign up for SS. 

Medicare covers most but not all medical costs so most people purchase the additional not too expensive Medicare Supplemental health insurance which cover most or all of the remaining cost gap upon need.

☂  "Advantage" health plans with HMO flavorings are also available in some areas, with lowercoverages for you but with certain advantages.  These are explained in material retirees received.  A type of plan such as Kaiser Permanente is a available in some areas with its advantages.

Medicare-Based Prescription Drug Insurance Complexities

Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan is complex, and it is described more fully online at the government's sites. There are these elements - There are 3 or 4 phases of coverage for some, that is,  some basic plans require you pay the full price from January (phase 1) until you have paid out $300 or $400 (their phase 2). But most plans don't have split initial coverage phases and have good initial coverage.  The problem with them all, after "real" cost of your drugs (what you paid plus what the insurer paid combined) exceeds $2850 for that calendar year - you fall into the dreaded "Donut Hole"  with poor coverage.

In the donut hole or coverage gap, your drug co-pay costs jump up seriously if using expensive drugs, to around half coverage, until you yourself have paid out out pocket over $4000 from the mid-2000 teens year. Coverage improves slightly annually to much better by 2022, or if the government by then changes this controversial plan.  Go online the various for a full and very complex description.  After and if you arise from the coverage gap phase, a final Phase 4 completes your calendar year with  small co-pays and even that might be recovered with an extra company stipend upon request.

☂  Other assistance.  There may be further assistance available and for more needy persons with very expensive drugs from various sources including the drug maker. Drugs administered while in the hospital should not fall under your Rx Drug Plan and its foibles, they are covered by Medicare and you Medigap medical plan unless in some cases where you are kept overnight on an emergency visit. 

☂  To prepare for insurance decisions and interviews with an exchange, and in the future, you may want to compute the non-insured retail cost of your current and occasional drugs (Costco website is one source), determine where you prefer to shop, if you can use mail order supplies to save, and when your sign-up call occurs have on hand your Medicare card, Rx drug list (dosages, retails costs) and your bank information from a check if checking account, where the company can deposit their donations and where your new plans can withdraw their monthly premium if you want it automated. You will have to pay the first month payment on sign-up over the phone encouraged.  Policy materials will arrive in the mail from two days to two weeks after signing. 

☂ When initializing a new or continuing a program during open enrollment only during Fall, call them your exchange to compare plans because they each change independently annually.  Call the exchange very early not waiting till near the deadline.  just to find out if there is now anything better they offer for your evolving  situation, and if your situation (or the law) changes.  Premiums do not hold even if you did not change plans each year is different no matter.

☂  There are significant reasons to keep all medical expense records including travel for medical treatment, and minor associated over-the-counter costs that are deductible so you may reduce you tax payment to recoup some of these costs. Keep especially or have recreated by your pharmacy co-payments  were paid,  for tax records and to monitor your approaching the next phase.