2.10.2011

Medicare and SHIPtalk

I was approved for permanent disability aka SSI. Yeah! Oh Shit! I mean it is good that I was finally approved but still surreal and scary at the same time. I am 39 years old (try not to spread that around too much will ya?) and it hits me more a little bit everyday that this is where my life is right now. Totally NOT where I had thought, hoped or planned to be at this time in my life, ya know? Course than again, I am not sure there are too many people out there that planned this. I have now received the 2 years of back pay that was owed to me. As of right now I have a rather LARGE lump sum sitting in my account that is screaming at me to pay off all of my bills and get square. Put some aside if possible. You know? But I still haven’t found out what is the amount that I will have to pay back to my LTD insurance so until I get that amount I can only look at that lump sum and dream a little dream. Sigh… I swear when I look at my account online my eyes turn into dollar signs!


I now also have Medicare. Yeah! Right? The last 2 days I have been on the phone with Medicare and Social Security. If you have any questions let me know and I am pretty sure I can assist you. LOL I have been to both of their websites and spoken to people as well. Don’t get me wrong it can be overwhelming to say the least. I thought I would share some tidbits of information so when/if the time comes for you to go down this path this might help you.


Medicare  (God help us all)
This alone can be confusing and overwhelming. I suggest going to their website first. Even if you haven’t reached the appropriate age (65) or received the paperwork stating the award I highly recommend visiting the website. This will help you a lot. On the website there is a section that allows you to compare Drug and Health plans. This is extremely useful. It will ask for your Medicare # but since you most likely will not have it yet you can just skip that question, as well as you will need to skip the date you became eligible and your birthday. So you will basically put in your zip code and hit enter. Make sure you have all of your medications with you. You will then be brought to another page and in this section you can add all of your medications so that when you are comparing plans you can also see how much the medications will cost using a retail pharmacy or a mail order pharmacy. Once you create a drug list, it will give you drug list id # and the password date. Make sure you make a note of this so you can continue to use this on this site. It is very useful. It will also be useful when/if you need to talk to someone at Medicare. You will be brought to the next page which allows you to select a pharmacy. Once you select a pharmacy (it is not necessary but helpful) it will then take you to look at the plans that are available in the zip code you provided. While looking at Medicare plans you will see that there are Medigap policies, Medicare with drug coverage, Medicare without drug coverage and Prescription Drug plans.

I suggest you think about what you are really looking for in coverage. Do you have a lot of medications that need to be covered, are they generics or brands only? Do you need DME services (durable medical equipment, which might include oxygen, diabetes supplies, cpap supplies/machines, walkers, beds, wheelchairs, etc)? Are you in the hospital a lot? What about home health care is that something you need to think about? Are you interested in having dental and/or vision coverage as well? What about alternative services, as in acupuncture and chiropractor? These are all questions that only you can answer as far as what you will need/want to have covered. Only YOU know really what your health has been like and basically where it is headed. Think about it before jumping into anything. They offer HMO, PPO and PDP plans. If you already have medical insurance and are happy with it and don’t want Medicare you don’t have to take it. Remember that. However you must do it within the allotted enrollment period. You have a 3 month period prior to and after your 65th birthday. If you have been awarded Medicare you only have 3 months.

There is also another organization SHIP that you might find of some help. Medicare actually told me about them. They are a free service and will talk to you on the phone or come to your home. They are a non-biased company that will go over all of the medicare available plans with you to help you figure out what is best suited for your needs. Sounds good to me don't you think?
**All of the webistes that I used for examples for Medicare I used a general zip code so when you use it please remember to put in your zip code so that you will get the information that suits you best**