How do I determine whether or not my parents are receiving every possible prescription benefit?

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Yesterday I went to the drugstore to pick up their medications --- over $600!!!. Spoke with my sister this evening and she mentioned an Aunt of ours who has a supplemental insurance that helps to pay prescriptions. My sister and I are Co Power of Attorneys for my parents. It works well because my sister is better with financial matters, however, she lives 15 hours away. I am the family caregiver that lives in town and does all that other stuff we're all so familiar with.

Even with us brainstorming about it over the phone, we weren't able to come up with many ideas. Their health insurance partially pays for prescriptions but the insured has to pay the store and the company reimburses the individual. That's how Dad's former employer's insurance program works. They, also, have Medicare but I'm not sure what it covers. How do you know if the Medicare that covers your parents covers medications?

Please share with me anything you have found that helps. Where did you start your search? What questions did you ask? The only action plan I have for now is to comparison shop the cost of their medications at other pharmacies in town. Although they have had their prescriptions at the same drugstore for many years, I think it's time to make the transition to a more cost effective pharmacy.

Has anyone here gotten their parents' prescriptions online? Even though you can see that a lot of medications are cheaper online, I have a feeling that it's not the safest place to purchase prescriptions. On the other hand, I am much more open minded now that I have seen a $600 pricetag.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!!!

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Expert Answer
3930 helpful answers
Many employers have put a much larger financial responsibility onto the subscriber than before. Likely your dad’s former employer renegotiates yearly and the policy changes. Your sister may want to see if it’s worth your dad’s while (financially) to carry the employer’s insurance as a first insurance and then go to Medicare. Check carefully both options.
Since your dad is on Medicare, he qualifies for Medicare D, which is the prescription drug plan. The same would be true for your mom, if she is on Medicare. Since they go through your Dad's work insurance first, however (primary insurance) that may change things, but likely Medicare D would kick in to cover what the other insurance doesn't cover. Medicare D isn't fantastic - they have a large "donut hole" in the middle where the subscriber must cover the costs - but it's inexpensive. Considering your parents' situation, you should probably go to www.medicare.gov and investigate. Or have your sister do this if that's her strong point. If there are questions (likely there will be), she can call the contact number on the site. This will take some footwork, but it should help with expenses.
Good luck,
Carol
Thank you, Carol, for this information! I am continually impressed with the expertise and experience participants have on agingcare. You can be sure I will be doing some investigation before talking with my sister on Sunday.

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