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[IP] Re: Medicare

 Yes, the Planfinder tool on medicare.gov is excellent. It crunches the number
for all the Part D or Medicare Advantage plans and ranks them in order of the
lowest overall cost for your specific drugs. It factors in the premiums, copays,
shows when you're in the donut hole, gives you the star ratings and any
restrictions on your drugs. As noted below, do not include insulin in your drug
list if it's Part B. If you take any Part D meds this is by far the best way to
pick your plan and you should also review it every year as formularies and tiers
change. Otherwise if you don't take meds pick the Part D plan with the lowest
premium and you can always change every year during open enrollment.
 The penalty for not enrolling in Part D on a timely basis is one percent of the
national average Part D premium per month for each month that you didn't have
Part D or other creditable drug coverage. Currently the national average premium
is about $35 so the penalty would be roughly 35 cents/month for each uncovered
month stemming back from May 2006 when Part D was implemented. That amounts to
about $4/mo for each year that you were uncovered. For example if you went 5
years without Part D or other coverage, your penalty would be roughly $20/month
forever. The penalty continues for as long as you have Part D unless you qualify
for Extra Help which is a program to help with Part D for those with low income
and assets.

 As far as comparisons for the other plans, check with your HICAP/SHIP to see if
they produce comparison charts for the plans in your area. Our program has
comprehensive charts showing all the Advantage plans with the copays for various
services including Part B drugs, the provider networks, the premiums, additional
benefits such as dental, etc. We also have charts comparing the Medigap
Supplement plans with sample premiums. Pam

 <Rather than an agent that will collect a commission on whatever they sell,you
could use
and build your own Medicine List (remember, if on Original Medicare and
Supplemental All Diabetes Supplies are covered 100% under Part B (subject
to exclusions in some states))>
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