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Last Week's Letters to the Editor

December 22, 2005

Choosing Medicare D Prescription Plans

From now until May 15, 2006, Medicare recipients who do not have prescription coverage can now sign up to get it. It is important to know that in our area there are 48 approved plans from which to choose! If you have a Medicare supplement, your insurance company has probably already sent you an application for its plan. That may or may not be the best plan for you. How can you find out?

Medicare has an outstanding website, which is www.medicare.gov. Click on "Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans." It may seem like a lot of work to do what is suggested below, but doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars!

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When you open the "Compare Plans" resource, click on "Find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan." It will ask you for personal information including your zip code, which is important for identifying plans open to you and pharmacies near you that service the plan you choose.

Go to "Search Plans." Follow the steps then click on "View Plan List" to see an overview of the 48 plans. Though you can scroll through all the plans at this time and research each plan, it is better to do it after you have entered your medications. Follow the steps to enter your medications.

Finally you will come to "Plan Comparison" where you can pick two or three plans and then see them compared. This is the most important thing you will do. You can compare these plans as to estimated annual cost, whether mail order is available or not, number of pharmacies that serve that plan (you can click on the "number" such as "3" to see the actual names and addresses of the pharmacies.), annual deductible cost, monthly premium, and monthly cost charge. It will also show you the specific prices for the medications you use, which differ with each plan! Then you can click on Enroll if you want to do that. If you have any further questions, call Medicare at 1-800- MEDICARE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bill Cunningham, La Cañada

Community Service

I have always admired people who serve on local community councils and commissions. They certainly don't do it for the pay nor the power, neither one of which is much of a motivator in our community. Even the appreciation of the general public is limited, if there is any at all. These fine people serve because they want to give something back to their community.

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