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Archive for January, 2006

end of year deals

January 1st, 2006 at 02:15 pm

I took advantage of some online year end clearances yesterday to stock up on gifts for the upcoming year.

The best offer, I think, was from Yves Rocher. Half price on the entire site, 4 free gifts, including a wrap and a wallet organizer, free samples, 20% off everything coupon code, and 15% back through eBates. They had previously sent samples of 15 different perfumes, so I knew which I liked and which gave me headaches. I love their hand cream, some bath gels, and I placed 3 orders, so received 12 gifts, plus more than 70% off of the things I purchased. Most will be gifts during the year or for next Christmas.

I resisted the urge to buy everything on the holiday clearances just yet. Winter sales will still be better in a few weeks, and nothing is urgent. I would like another pair of fleece gloves and a hat, although I have a set that is in poor condition, they still work. All the things on MY wish list that didn't come, well, I did without them before Christmas, and they can wait another year. Just little things, like a better CD organizer for the basement gym, as I cannot manage to get the CDs to slide in and out of the carosel we currently have. So I've been using a cardboard box. Not urgent, it works perfectly fine. There are just quite a few CDs.

I haven't started up my goals for the year yet. Still feeling VERY happy to survive the last year, after the intense few months we've had.

Happy New Year to all who are celebrating today, and to those who celebrate on different days, a good day to you too!

Selected Medicare Part D plans for everyone!

January 1st, 2006 at 02:07 pm

Okay, I finished and set up everyone's insurance accounts on Friday, but I'm still recovering!

My father's condition, and prognosis, caused a redo on his meds and considering "value" that was extremely difficult. I don't think of his impending death as "savings", and finding plans that won't make him go through a step program was irritating.

But, I did go through www.medicare.gov and used the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder, input the area information, specific medications for each person, changed for actual quantity used, got the lists of how many drugs each given plan covered out of each persons list. For MJ82, the best was 5/5, and she is on fairly ordinary drugs. RM85 was 11/13, and MJ45 was 11/13.

The list from MEdicare allows you to click on each plan to see the specifics of each drug listed as "covered", and shows for each medication listed whether or not there were quantity limits (i.e., "standard dose of Zoloft for the plans was 50mg, but most people are on 100-200mgs. So, having 50 mg covered and not the remaining quanitity WAS a consideration that had to be evaluated for each medication).

The list also shows if there is prior approval required for each medication, and whether or not a step program is required. A step program just requires you to try the cheapest alternative out there, then step through other trials until they "prove" you need the most expensive one. For example, if you needed Zoloft, perhaps generic Prozac first, then after your doctor reported that it was ineffective (several months in the case of SRIs), a different generic, etc., until you "proved" that Zoloft was the only medication that would work for your specific condition. This requirement is true even if you have already tried all the other meds; but you can petition the insurer. In my father's case, having only a short time to live, going through trials of cheaper drugs does not make sense. For my mother, who has been ordering generic from Canada since she first went on Medicare, it would not matter, and step plans tend to be cheaper. She tends to stay on a simple set of medications, also, while my father's new diagnosis and MJ45's changing meds needed a broader coverage to plan for the likelihood that the prescriptions will change during the year.

Some plans provide coverage of "generic" drugs during the "donut hole", some plans have deductibles, some plans have copays in tiers, (e.g., $5 for generic, $20 for name brand), some have better prices with higher deductibles (in one insurers two plans, a $0 deductible plan had 20 of the top 100 drugs costing less than $20 a month, but a $250 deductible plan with 91 of the top 100 drugs costing less than $20 a month).

Each plan has a different premium, too. So I spent most of Friday bouncing between web pages, the medicare MPDPF and the www.medicaredrugplan.com/ratings page for each person.

All three are enrolled in plans, now, and I do think they are the right plans. I've posted my opinions on part D itself, but the process of sorting it all out was in a catagory by itself!

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