Medication Management can be a challenge at any age. There are tools and resources available to help.
Be a Savvy Shopper (Know Your Insurance)!
Medicare beneficiaries can call their local State Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP), which is called MMAP in Michigan. The Acronym stands for Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program. MMAP counselors will use the Medicare.gov website to help you discover which prescription programs will include your unique combination of medications. The website compares prices on medications, pharmacy networks, and more, so you don’t overpay.
Connect with MMAP by calling 800-803-7174 in Battle Creek, 269-781-0846 in Marshall, or 517-529-3842 in Albion. The 800 number serves the entire state, geo-routing calls to the nearest MMAP regional office.
Partner with your Pharmacist
Another aspect of Medication Management is scheduling. What do you take, and when? Should you take your medication with food or without? Your pharmacist can be your best help for managing dosing schedules, as most pharmacies now offer some type of blister-pack medication packaging. They can sort prescriptions and vitamins/minerals into easy-open labelled packets for morning, midday, dinner time and bedtime. Some pharmacies charge extra for this service, you need to ask if there is a cost. Your pharmacy can also print out your complete medication list to carry with you. Keep a copy at home for caregivers, too!
If blister packaging isn’t for you, pill sorters and medication reminder phone alarm apps are also useful.
Your pharmacist can also provide Medication Therapy Management. They will review all the meds and over the counters you are on, and guide you on how to time taking those meds so that they are best absorbed and used by your body. The pharmacist can contact your doctors if any medications have been inadvertently doubled-for example, if your general doctor and your heart specialist each prescribed a similar blood pressure or heart medication. Medicare covers this service for most beneficiaries.
Be your own Advocate!
As a consumer, you need to know what you are taking and why. Be your own advocate when prescribed a new medication. Ask your doctor what the medicine is supposed to do. Will it cure my medical condition? Will it slow down progression of a chronic condition? How will I know it is working? Will I feel different, or will we do lab tests to monitor if it is working? How long will it take for the medication to begin working? Some medicines can take a month or more! Is there a generic form of this medication? Is there a cost-assistance program from the manufacturer? If I cannot afford it, what different medicine might I be able to use for this same health condition? These are all great questions to ask, even if you are already taking some medications.
Medication Management can be a challenge, but comparison shopping for your insurance, partnering with your pharmacist, and being your own advocate will empower you to take control!