The new Medicare discount prescription drug program is supposed to give seniors a break on expensive medications, but parts of the plan could leave some seniors open to scam artists.
It will allow for companies to contact seniors and peddle what they have to offer, but there are some ways you can protect yourself.
The best way to protect yourself is having all the facts. The plan could save seniors 10-25 percent on prescription drugs, but there could be a snag. Companies like Walgreen’s, Pfizer, and Merck are on the federally approved list to issue their own Medicare discount drug cards.
These companies can contact you by mail or telemarketer and tell you about the benefits of their plan, and the companies can charge up to a $30 membership fee to use their plan, which means seniors, you could be seeing a whole lot more mail starting May 1.
"If someone calls them before May 1st and indicates that they want them to come down and hear a lecture on the Medicare approved discount card they are sponsoring, they should be very leery of that, that's potentially fraud," says Tom Wilson, a Medicare expert.
Companies are forbidden by law to contact you before May 1 when the plan goes into effect, but beware these companies are selling a product like any other so be wary even after that May 1 deadline.
If you have any questions about whether information you've received is legitimate call 1-800-MEDICARE or if you want to talk to an advisor on what the best plan options are for you. Call the Bay County Council on Aging at 769-3468.
You don't have to sign up for the discount drug plan just because you are on Medicare. Many organizations like AARP already offer comparable discount drug programs.