Click this link to see an excellent pie chart showing sources of U.S. government borrowing – or to whom the U.S. government owes money. If the government does not raise the debt ceiling, all payments that are due during the next payment cycle will not be paid. If the U.S. government doesn’t make payments due to its creditors, it will cause financial chaos in financial markets around the world.
Archive for April, 2011
In 2008, Medicare spent $68.3 billion dollars on drugs purchased through Part D plans. This is too much money! Seventy-five percent of the $68.3 billion was spent on brand name drugs like Lipitor, Plavix, and Nexium.
Generics used to treat high cholesterol cost less than $10, while brand drugs cost $100 or more. Although most people on Medicare use generics, the chart below shows how the higher cost of brand drugs overwhelms the Part D budget. If everyone used generics, the Medicare Part D budget could be cut by billions of dollars.
In 2008 Medicare spent $68.3 billion
on drugs purchased through Part D.
Lipitor is going generic soon. Fosamax now has a generic replacement, so Part D plans are not covering this drug for treating osteoporosis. I learned this when I was searching for a Part D drug plan for a client and discovered that Fosamax was not on any plans’ formularies (list of drugs covered).
See my recent post on the top ten drugs purchased through Part D.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR MEDICARE CHOICES SEE ARIZONAMEDICARENEWS.COM
My shoulder has been aching for five months and is getting worse. Luckily for me, I have good health insurance, so I got a referral for physical therapy. The physical therapist did an evaluation and set up a schedule for me to see her twice a week for four weeks. My co-pay is $40 for each session. That’s $80 per week times four weeks totaling $320. Jeeze…..maybe I should just join a gym.
So I started thinking I might take the path that most of my Medicare Advantage clients take: They go to one physical therapy (PT) session, get the exercise instructions, and never go back. This is because their PT co-pay is generally $35 to $45 dollars, depending on their Medicare Advantage plan.
I can now relate better to my clients who have bad knees, bad backs, and bad shoulders, and why they don’t get the help they need – even though they have what they think is a pretty good Medicare Advantage plan. I can understand how people living on $1,000 to $2,000 per month (or even more) will turn down PT that will cost them $300 to $600 dollars.
I read something last year about a study of people with bad knees who have Medicare. The study looked at several thousand people, half of whom had knee surgery while the other half received physical therapy. The study found that the outcomes were generally the same for each group. But the group that got physical therapy, at about $80 per session, cost Medicare a lot less than those who had surgery for several thousand dollars.
So I have been asking the questions, “Why is a co-pay for physical therapy $40? Shouldn’t the co-pay be lower so it encourages people, especially seniors, to get physical therapy and avoiding expensive surgery?”
I think I’ll probably do all of the PT sessions because I know I’m not doing the exercises at home exactly as they should be done. And the therapist does several other things only a physical therapist can do. I want my shoulder to get better and avoid surgery, so I will probably pay the price. My experience makes me feel bad for all the seniors who have told me they did not get physical therapy because they could not afford the co-pays. What a system!
NOTE: If a senior has a Medicare supplement, they pay a hefty premium each month, but generally have no co-pay for services like physical therapy. These people will not hesitate to get PT because they have no co-pay. I use physical therapy as an example of why a Medicare supplement would provide better coverage than Medicare Advantage when I talk to people who are turning 65. But many people don’t want to pay the price of a Medicare supplement, so they choose Medicare Advantage. That’s their choice, but they may eventually have to pay up one way or another.
FOR MORE INFO ON MEDICARE CHOICES CLICK HERE.