Local Man's Medicare Mishap

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

September 5, 2006

The Medicare prescription drug program has been under fire for complications and now coverage errors are popping up as well. A Charlottesville man was put on the new plan by mistake, but it is a mistake that could have cost him a lot of money.

Last week Kenneth Catron received a letter confirming that he had changed his Medicare Plan D drug program. But Catron never changed companies.

"I immediately called Medicare to make sure they had the correct party, if they had the right information," said Catron.

Through hours of phone calls and explanations Catron said Medicare realized they made a mistake. He not only has Medicare, but he has Medicaid as well and in the interest of making sure everyone that is state assisted is covered Medicare signed him up for a new plan automatically. However, that meant Catron would have no coverage during the 30 days grace period.

"The drugs would have cost me just under $800, with one bottle costing $300 alone."

Catron takes a total of 28 pills a day. He said it would have been a disaster if he hadn't called Medicare to straighten it out and get back on his old plan.

Insurance experts said this same thing could happen to anyone who is on Medicare as well as Medicaid.

"Not only that but the plan that he was assigned to might not have covered all of his medications," said Sally Mank, a Health Insurance Specialist from the Jefferson Area Board for Aging.

It is still going to take Catron about a week to get back on the old drug plan and get his prescription card, but he's just glad he caught the mistake before it cost him a bundle.

The insurance specialist recommends to call Medicare directly if you are on both Medicare and Medicaid and you received a letter about a new prescription drug plan. The phone number to call is 1-800-MEDICARE.

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