Gray Power: Carefully choose plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Joan Carter, state director of AARP Alabama, points out there are about 44 plans being offered by 18 companies in our state of Alabama.

You have probably received some advertisements in the mail from many of those companies that are offering these standalone prescription drug plans.

Be careful before signing anything. Do your homework and weigh the programs carefully.

The approved prescription drug plan companies will not be marketing their programs door-to-door.

Don’t make your decisions based on slick advertisements or &8216;nice’ salespeople.

Make sure the program features suit your individual needs.

Ask your pharmacist which Medicare prescription drug plans he or she accepts.

Make a list of the drugs you currently take including the name, dosage, how often you take them and the name of the prescription drug company which sells it (for example: Zantac, 75 mg, 2 times a day, Glaxco, Smith, Kline).

This information will help you choose the prescription drug plan that is right for you.

Drug plan data is now available at, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Some of the features of the Medicare will allow you to further personalize your search for a drug plan that meets your needs. These features will be available well before you choose to enroll in a plan.

Choosing a plan

Once you have your information together, call their toll-free telephone number (800-MEDICARE or 800-633-4227 or TTY 877-486-2408) to get information to help you understand your Medicare and prescription drug choices. or visit on the Internet to choose a prescription drug plan.

For help making the right choice, be sure you consider the costs, the coverage and the convenience of each plan.

Individuals with limited income can get extra help to pay premiums and co-pays.

In June, the Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed applications to some of you who might qualify.

If you did not receive an application and feel that you may be eligible, call 1-800-772- 1213.

For information, you can obtain a free copy of AARP’s brochure, &8216;The New Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage: What you need to know’ (#D18350-805) by visiting the AARP website at or by calling AARP in Alabama at 1-866-542-8167.

Dr. Marvin Copes serves as a volunteer for AARP. He can be reached at