- Healthcare will be available for Medicare recipients
- Veteran Affairs Hospitals will remain open
- Social Security recipients will continue to receive benefits
- Medicare Advantage enrollment will still begin October 15th
- Part D drug plans can be changed
On the downside:
- Potential delays processing Medicare and Social Security applications
- The Annual Influenza Program (flu shots through Medicare) is delayed
- Public health programs and services cancelled
- Government websites will not be updated
Those who regularly use the Medicare.gov website see the disclaimer at the top of the page that indicates the website is not being updated, so the information may not be accurate. In addition to that, there are glitches in the systems that keep users from accessing the information! If you have a problem trying to research drug plans on that website, talk to your insurance representative because there are other websites available to agents that can perform a similar search comparison for plans. The main thing to remember is you truly need to evaluate your drug plan this year. There have been changes that impact your costs, or even your medication. In some cases previously covered drugs have been dropped from the formularies. There are several new plans available in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas County this year and one of them may be the most cost effective for you.
Keep in mind that the best drug plan for you is totally determined by the drugs you take and the company and the pharmacy you choose can have a huge impact on costs and even determine the Coverage Gap timing if you happen to fall into that each year. One client discovered by simply changing pharmacies she saved over $150 per month on her drug costs. Even though couples like to use the same companies, it can be a costly error. When you evaluate your drug plans do it for each of you. If the same company works for both, great! If not, do not hesitate to change plans.
After October 15, 2013 until December 7, 2013 you have the option to select another plan. That goes for the Medicare Advantage plans too. If you are thinking about going to a supplement plan instead, that is the time to look into it.
When the government is back in business, we can tackle other challenges!