Healthline member newsletter

Medicare Advantage Updates: What’s New for 2012

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Enhanced Prescription Drug Benefits:

All Capital Health Plan Medicare Advantage (HMO) plans will offer a 90-day retail supply and a 90-day mail order supply of most prescriptions beginning January 2012.

To take advantage of the 90-day retail supply just ask your physician’s office for a 90-day prescription and fill the prescription at your local pharmacy.

To take advantage of the 90-day mail order service:

Contact your physician’s office and ask for a 90-day prescription with three refills. 

  • Fill out the Mail Service Order Form. 
    • Download the form at caremark.com under “Forms for Print.” 
    • Or, call Member Services at the numbers listed below, and we will mail you a form. 
  • Mail the form to Caremark at the address printed on the form.

Drugs available through mail order are drugs you take on a regular basis, for a chronic or long term medical conditions.  The drugs that are not available through mail order service are marked with a “NM” (not available at mail order) on your Formulary (drug list).   The Formulary is available on line at capitalhealth.com/2012 Medicare. All Medicare Advantage members enrolled in plans that renew between October 1 and January 1 have also received the new 2012 Formulary by mail.  

Medicare-Covered Preventive Services:  

Most preventive services have been covered by Capital Health Plan at no cost to members in the past.  However, in 2012 members will see some additional preventive services covered at no cost.  Please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Chapter 4, for a list of preventive services.   This is a good time to check and make sure you have completed your annual screenings for 2011.

For other 2012 changes, please refer to your Annual Notices of Changes and Evidence of Coverage.

Questions:  Contact Member Services, 850-523-7441 or 1-877-247-6512 (TTY 850-383-3534 or 1-877-870-8943) 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week.

H5938_DP 267 File & Use 11222011

Ask Dr. Nancy: Important information about prescription drugs

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Question:How can I improve the benefits of my prescription drugs while reducing the risks?

Answer: In the last 25 years, we’ve seen a major increase in the number of drugs available to us. There are many obvious advantages to that availability, but one negative effect is that we expect there to be an effective pill for every condition. What we may not realize is not all pills are effective for everyone, many carry side effects that can outweigh their advantages, or many may simply control the adverse results of an unhealthy lifestyle rather than address underlying issues with diet and exercise.  To make informed decisions about your medical care, here are some things you should keep in mind about prescription drugs.  

Most medications are tested in young, healthy people who are not on other drugs. The effectiveness and safety of a drug is very different, for example, when taken by an elderly person with tired kidneys who is also taking six other drugs.

The problem is that over time, multiple doctors can continue to prescribe you medications without considering your total health picture. Some may be for symptoms which are bothersome but not life threatening. Those drugs may cause side effects and you may be prescribed more drugs to reduce the side effects.  You may be reluctant to stop any medication once you start it. And that can all add up to a real mess.  

Being proactive and knowledgeable about your prescriptions is very important in the event of a hospital stay. Let’s say you have an emergency and go to the hospital. Hospital

staff will try to find out what medications you are taking. If you or your family members don’t know the names and dosages of your medications, it can be hard for them to give you the best medical care. 

More complications can come when you are released from the hospital. Nurses try to reconcile medications you were taking before you went into the hospital with any new prescriptions from your hospital visit. They will develop a list and give it to you with instructions. You may be overwhelmed by all the new information. Make an appointment to follow up with your primary care physician who knows your medical history best. Be prepared to discuss new medications and any new side effects you may be experiencing. 

There are other simple things you can do to help avoid complications from prescriptions medications. Be honest with your physician about how regularly you take your medications. Let your physician know your goals. Do you want to minimize cost, maximize convenience, or minimize your medications? Working along with your physician, you can experience the advantages to the vast advances in prescription drugs, and avoid the disadvantages.