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Se nior Life by Sally Kelly

It is just the first of August, and already we are beginning to see advertisements to entice us to change our health insurance company during the Medicare Open Enrollment period starting in October (Part B and Part D).
I, for one, will take a closer look at my policies this fall because “What appears to be is not always what is.”
I recently found that I could have purchased a medication cheaper by paying cash, rather than paying with my insurance card. This can happen because the Medicare drug programs have established the precedent of not accepting pharmaceutical coupons for partial payment for prescriptions.
This may not seem like a big deal until you look at your co-pays. For instance, I recently paid a $34 co-pay for a medication using my drug insurance program, and later discovered that if I had paid cash and used a coupon from GoodRX, I could have purchased the exact same medication for $8.56. In exploring the option of switching to a different medications, I found a coupon online that would permit me to purchase the medication with a coupon for $25, if I was not receiving “government assistance.” (Medicare is considered government assistance.) Since I am on Medicare, the medication will cost me $242 for the same month’s supply.
Before purchasing any other medications, it is obviously worth taking the time to explore other options such as Good RX (on the Internet) and the pharmaceutical company itself for any discounts available.
Another plan of action will be to contact the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) prior to making any commitment to an insurance company during the Medicare enrollment period. This state program provides free health insurance information and services for people with Medicare. Their trained volunteers can help answer your questions on Medicare Health coverage including various health plans for Medicare supplemental insurance; and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), etc.
OSHIIP can be contacted Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (1-800-686-1578) or on the web at
For more immediate assistance with prescription medications contact our local Medication Access program at 330-297-8770. The staff has information available to help you save money on your prescriptions if you have a limited income, or if you have reached the infamous Doughnut Hole.
Unfortunately, there is only someone in their office on Thursdays, but they do respond to telephone messages left during the week. Call 330-297-8770, and leave your name, phone number, name of medication, and the name of your insurance company. Give them a few days, and the volunteer staff will get back to you after they have done their research as to what discounts, if any, are available.
The Portage County Senior Center’s bus trip in August is headed for the Meadows Casino in Pennsylvania. The bus will leave the parking lot between the Ravenna AW and Giant Eagle (East Main Street in Ravenna) at 8 a.m. and return by 5 p.m. Aug. 22.
At this point, the casino will be giving you $20 in free slot play and $5 toward food. The cost of the trip is $25.
For additional information and to make a reservation, contact the Senior Center at 330-297-3456.
Oops, I have to correct some information from last month’s column. Not all McDonald’s offer free coffee to seniors. But I did learn that Wendy’s has the cheapest coffee in our area whether a senior or not.
Phone: 330-687-9501Email:

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