How to Save Money on Medicare Drug Plan During Open Enrollment

Stockton’s free health salon includes Medicare Part D prescription plan optimization, vaccinations, and testing for everything from bone density to diabetes.

STOCKTON, Calif .– The Medicare enrollment window recently opened for millions of Californians. This year, it runs until December 7, so it’s time for beneficiaries to review their plans and make changes to their coverage for 2022.

There are many choices to be made, and the wrong ones can be costly. Fortunately, there is help with drug plans, also known as Medicare Part D.

The Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy at the University of the Pacific hosts an annual series of in-person and virtual clinics that aim to maximize benefits for participants. The next in person will be part of a health fair on Saturday, October 30 at Sierra Vista Homes in Stockton.

Pharmacy Practice Professor Rajul Patel and his students will be there to make individual assessments of the Part D options by examining each guest’s unique situation.

“There are four to eight dozen different drug plans available in 2022, depending on where the person lives,” Dr. Patel told the Dollars and Sense team. “Each plan has a different list of drugs it covers and a different cost-sharing structure. So what we’re trying to do is identify the plan – from this sea of ​​plans – that will best meet the individual’s needs and specifically lower their drug costs.

Most people, he says, could make a change for the better.

“What we noticed is that about 75% of people on Medicare, who are on one drug plan, could actually save money by switching to another plan. -medications.”

These savings are essential for many recipients and average close to $ 1,000, according to Patel.

“You’re looking at around $ 85 per person per month. Most of these people, of course, will become seniors if they have Medicare – a fixed income, limited resources – so it’s not a trivial amount of money to put in your pocket.

Another part of the process is doing a medication review to make sure that each participant’s medications can be taken together safely.

“During the exam, we make sure that they are taking their medication correctly. We explain to them why they take the drugs, how they take their drugs and whether or not they experience any side effects, ”explains Amanda Lee, a pharmacy student.

Those wishing to participate in Part D optimization and drug review should call (209) 460-5076 to make an appointment and bring their Medicare card, all drugs, including over-the-counter drugs. , and a copy of their most recent lab. results if available. Since these services take place indoors, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination completed at least two weeks before the event is required. Masks are essential.

For those who aren’t vaccinated or don’t need Part D and prescription reviews, there are still plenty of reasons to attend. Other services will be offered in open spaces.

“We have over half a dozen different screenings and health services, ranging from vaccinations, COVID, flu and other vaccines, diabetes tests, blood pressure tests, cholesterol tests, bone density tests – all services are available to the community at no cost, ”Patel says.

“It doesn’t matter where you live, whatever your insurance status, it’s open to the public.”

This public service aspect of the clinics is what makes the hours of preparation and engagement worthwhile for pharmacy student Angela San.

“When I entered the University of the Pacific for their pharmacy program, that was one of the things that really drew me to the program,” she says. “It’s something really special for me, and I’m really glad I was able to join the class and help our community.”

The event takes place on Saturday, October 30 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccinations – as well as COVID tests – are available from 12:30 p.m. Boosters will be available for those who are eligible .

Through the participation of community groups such as the Abbott Fund, Housing Authority of San Joaquin County, Emergency Food Bank and El Concilio, visitors can also get a COVID-19 test and a free bag of goods, among others.

Those unable to attend can visit the pharmacy school’s website to see when the next virtual and in-person events are taking place. Several more are planned before the end of open registrations.

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