Archive for the ‘Medicare’ Category

Now is the time to prepare for Medicare open enrollment season

Posted by on October 5th, 2012

Medicare’s open enrollment comes early this year, Oct. 15, and lasts longer, until Dec. 7, but it’s best to start thinking and planning your Medicare strategy as soon as possible to make sure you find the best plan that fits your needs. Unlike the past several years, there are relatively few changes to Medicare rules for 2013. But because your individual plan or your circumstances might be changing, you should still take a close look at your coverage options during the enrollment period.

Fox Business News published a good general overview of some of the small changes that are coming this year to the Medicare system.

In terms of Medicare Part D and prescription drug coverage, we encourage you to give CanadaDrugs.com a call and ask to speak to someone on our Medicare Team. We’ve got trained Patient Service Representatives that are here to work through your drug bills, and find the best way to maximize your savings. In the past, we’ve seen that smart purchasing direct from CanadaDrugs.com, combined with enrollment in a Medicare Plan can add up to maximized savings.

Seven of the top 10 Medicare-D plans will have double-digit percentage increases next year, according to Avalere Health, a healthcare consulting and research company. This increase in premiums will drive up drug spending for seniors. With the rising cost of enrollment plans, it’s important to find one that works best for you. A low premium may not be the best deal if the plan doesn’t cover your particular drugs, or if the co-pays are higher. Every plan is different, so this is the time to shop around, and CanadaDrugs.com is here to help you maximize your savings in 2013.

The Affordable Care Act is gradually closing the prescription drug “donut hole” – the nearly $4,000 gap where seniors have to cover 100 percent of their costs. In 2013, the gap starts when spending hits $2,970 and then coverage resumes when it reaches the “catastrophic” level of $6,733. CanadaDrugs.com direct cash savings are a real help when your trapped in that doughnut hole and don’t expect to reach the “catastrophic” level.

Shop around during enrollment season and find out which plan balances cost, coverage and flexibility for your prescription drug needs.


Should Medicare’s Eligibility Age Be Raised?

Posted by on September 24th, 2012

With millions of baby boomers aging and quickly heading into retirement, this years election cycle is seeing a lot of discussion about Medicare and it’s long term financial prognosis. Spending on the program is growing so fast so quickly that it is threatening the health of the U.S. economy and the future of how American rapidly growing population of seniors is going to a major policy challenge over the coming decade.

One policy idea and one proposed solution to the Medicare problem is to raise the eligibility age gradually to 67 from 65. Those that support this idea point to the fact that Americans are living longer now than they did when Medicare began in 1966, and that the new health-care law will ensure that older Americans have access to affordable insurance even if they can’t get coverage through an employer because they are retired.

When people first began receiving Medicare benefits in 1966, the average 65-year-old old lived another 15 years; today that figure is 20 years. With this increase of life expectancy, Medicare costs have grown 14-fold since the program started.

On the opposition side, those against a increase to Medicare make the argument that making Americans wait two extra years to get Medicare would be unfair to the poor, increase the ranks of the uninsured and possibly end up costing Americans more than it saves them.

The argument on increased costs states that while the two year increase in eligibility would save the government hundreds of billions of dollars, most of this cost savings would be clawed back by increased spending on Medicaid, as more younger retires would claim disability, as well it would see an increase in subsidy spending, more contributions form employers to cover the extra two years, driving premiums up, and finally even greater out-of-pockets costs forced onto seniors.

An excellent overview on both sides of this debate was published in the Wall Street Journal last week. Maya MacGuineas and Aaron E. Carroll published arguments for and against the increase to 67.

At Canada Drugs, Canadian Pharmacy, we watch this debate closely because we see everyday the struggles that seniors face when trying to afford the medication they need to live. An increase to 67, without corresponding changes  to expanding how seniors are covered by insurance plans could force even more Americans to struggle to afford medication until benefits kick in. Even under the current Medicare Part-D coverage, there are significant gaps that result in large out-of-pockets costs. The reality is, that with drug costs rising every year, no matter how Medicare is reformed, many seniors will fall through the cracks and be faced with drug bills they can’t afford. The ability to safely import lower cost medication from Canada and other first tier nations will continue to be an affordable way for seniors at age 64, or 65 or 67 to save on their health care costs.

Please comment in our comment section or on our Facebook page about what an increase of Medicare eligibility would mean for you and your family.


Is There a New Drug “Doughnut Hole?”

Posted by on July 20th, 2012

Nearly 11.5 million uninsured U.S. residents with incomes below the federal poverty line could fall into a new coverage gap if every state decided to opt out of the federal health reform law’s Medicaid expansion that the Supreme Court held up late last month.

The people affected will face a similar coverage gap that many seniors deal with under the old Medicare Part-D where they would see a significant out-of-pocket cost for drugs after reaching a cap on their Medicaid coverage. The Affordable Care Act is phasing out the doughnut-hole for seniors, but individuals who would fall in the new coverage gap would not be eligible for Medicaid in their states under current requirements. They also would not qualify for subsidized private coverage in the state health insurance exchanges that will be launched in 2014 under health care reform.

Governors like Republican Rick Perry of Texas and Chris Christie of Texas have promised to opt out of what they call “Obamacare,” but would so at the expense of low to mid income people in their states who would face major drug coverage gaps.

If every state were to reject that Medicaid expansion – as the Supreme Court ruling now allows – some low-income people would still be picked up by other coverage provisions meant to help the middle class. Those who fall into the new gap would neither qualify for Medicaid in their states under current rules nor be eligible for subsidized private insurance in new state marketplaces that Obama’s law calls exchanges.

At CanadaDrugs.com we’ve been helping fill the Medicare doughnut hole for seniors facing coverage gaps by offering affordable alternative to high U.S drug costs. When faced with out-of-pocket drugs costs for medication not covered by government programs or other insurance plans, buying from a Canadian pharmacy is often the single best way to maximize savings.

If this Medicaid “doughnut hole” emerges in states that opt out of the plan, we’re confidant that like we have been doing for 10 years, that we will offer an essential service to those that are struggling to afford prescription medication because of a combination of too high U.S costs, and a lack of adequate insurance coverage.


U.S. Census Finds More Americans Living to 90

Posted by on February 24th, 2012

The fastest growing group in the United States is the 90-plus population as more and more Americans are living longer and healthier lives, but the costs for many seniors to maintain their lifestyle into old age is also growing dramatically.

By midcentury the population of Americans over 90 is expected to reach over 8 million and represent over 2% of the population. There were only 720,000 Americans over 90 in 1980, and in 2010 this number had almost tripled to 1.9 million. In the 2010 census the numbers show the majority of those age 90 or older had one or more disabilities and were also much more likely than those ages 65-89 to live in poverty. This is especially troubling as the rate of seniors in poverty already out paces the levels of the average population.

The annual average income for people aged 90 and older was $14,760. Men had a higher income than women — $20,133 vs. $13,580. Social Security made up about 48 percent of total income. Some 15 percent of the age 90-and-older population lives in poverty.

While Medicare covers 99% of those in this demographic, the census also showed that 40 percent of the 90-and-older population bought additional private health insurance coverage from an insurance company. The cost of prescription medication is a major part of the overall income for this demographic, as the average 90 plus American is taking between 5-7 daily medications, and they often have trouble when falling in the Medicare doughnut hole.

Canada Drugs, Canadian pharmacy already serves a great deal of customers who are over 90, and even a few over 100! Our discount drug prices, and direct cash savings are often able to help seniors suffering in between coverage levels in Medicare, and with no premiums or plans we are often a better saving option than locking into drug insurance plan through a private insurance company.  The advances in medicine and better prescription drugs are allowing more and more of us to live longer and better lives, but it’s not without a cost. With Americans drug prices being the highest in the world, we offer those age 92, or 62 or 22, an affordable alternative and a way to save money on prescription drug costs.


Proposal promises Medicare premiums to rise for upper-income retirees

Posted by on December 13th, 2011

The debate over the year-end economic package that is going forward in the House of Representatives next week may contain a provision that will involve a comprise between Congressional Republicans and Democrats and could see Medicare premiums rise for higher income retirees.

Republicans are against a proposal that would increase taxes on those in higher income brackets but have floated the idea that budget savings could be found by instead requiring those earning beyond $1 million to pay full price for Medicare. Democrats are likely to reject the GOP approach, as they oppose cutting Medicare or other government programs unless they are part of broader efforts at federal deficit reduction. The Associated Press details more on the ongoing budget battle and how it could affect Medicare premiums going forward in their story.

Conservative leaning website Investors Business Daily writes that 5% of Medicare enrollees have more than $1 million in savings and that roughly $2.6 billion dollars was spent on health care subsides for the richest 1% of enrollees. A concern that is being raised over the discussed premium proposal is that “High income” for Medicare beneficiaries currently means those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families. This raises the point that many Americans who don’t consider themselves to wealthy may actually be affected down the road by this plan to phase out benefits for wealthier enrollees. The new Republican plan would drop the thresholds to $80,000 for an individual and $160,000 for families.

The AARP is fighting the proposed increase and saying it’s tantamount to a tax increase and will affect middle class retirees as well.

This is debate that Canadian Pharmacies like CanadaDrugs.com will watch as it unfolds. The benefit of our no plans, no premiums, and no deductible savings, is that we offer our customers pure cash savings on their prescription drug orders. We save Americans that without our low-cost prescriptions would be unable to afford their medication, as well as saving Americans that can afford their deductibles, but have done the math and realized that buying direct from us is still cheaper than going through their insurance or Medicare when they’re trapped in the doughnut hole. No matter what the decision on raising Medicare premiums, we’ll be here to offer an affordable alternative to Americans of all income brackets.