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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
June 2017
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Senior Spectrum Publications

Medicare and Medicaid Services
by Greg Dill
Regional Administrator
Medicare District 9
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How to Lower Your Medicare Drug Costs

Greg Dill
Greg Dill

Driving near Monterey, Calif., recently, I stopped at a roadside stand to buy some freshlypicked strawberries. May is high season for California strawberries, and the fields were exploding with beautiful, ripe fruit.

The gentleman working the stand, Jack, asked what I do for a living. When I told him I work for Medicare, he said he was having difficulty paying for his prescription drugs. So we talked for a while about ways he might be able to reduce his drug costs.

If you have Medicare and you’re having trouble paying for prescription drugs, signing up for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug coverage may help, even if you have to pay a lateenrollment penalty.

There are other ways you may be able to save. Consider switching to drugs that cost less. Ask your doctor if there are generic, overthecounter, or less expensive brandname drugs that could work just as well as the ones you’re taking now.

Switching to lowercost drugs can save you hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars a year. Visit Medicare Plan Finder at to get information on ways to save money in your Medicare drug plan. Or call 1800MEDICARE (18006334227) and ask our customer service representatives.

You may also be able to lower your Medicare prescription drug costs by:

cost of medicine

Find out whether the manufacturers of the drugs you take offer assistance by visiting or calling 1800MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Such assistance programs aren’t part of Medicare Part D, so any help you get from this type of program won’t count toward your TrOOP costs.

If you need help finding resources like the ones described above, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and ask for free personalized counseling for people with Medicare.

To get the phone number for your state’s SHIP, visit, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

And if you’re wondering whether Jack charged me for the strawberries, he did offer them for free. But since helping people with Medicare is a big part of my job, I told him I preferred to pay despite his kind offer.

We settled on a fair price, along with some freshly baked shortcake.


Greg Dill is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).