So the inherent problem is that there are private companies involved. Just as Geroge Bush wants us all to be in charge of our govt social security plans (a clever ruse to get us all to unwittingly funnel money to people he has associations and interests with) he wants us to figure out the prescription plans as well.
This is fine, really, it makes sense that we should be the masters of our destiny, BUT, the selection is simply too large. It's daunting. Add to it the fact that the plan companies are marketing it, like sales items. This too is ok, but as we all know, there is far less truth in advertising than we would like. Not to mention the fact that the tools that can be useful in figuring out the plans are not really easy to find online, and, they are not readily available in person. So unless your gran is a fairly advanced web user, she's in trouble.
So I have done my best to figure it out and break it down into manageable steps.
1. Calculate the cash prices for current meds.
2. Determinte the total cost of the current Rx Plan (include premiums, deductibles, and copays). Also be aware that some of these items are only charged if the plan is used.
3. Be sure you know the duration of current plan, and if it's likely to change.
4. Review the Medicare plans available in your area and compare their benefits versus their charges. keep in mind that each plan is different, and that plans may include premiums, deductibles, and copays. They also have specific formularies, or lists of drugs they will cover and not cover.
The trick of course is tracking down the participating plan information. Webmd has a good medicare page.
They also have a link to the feds plan lookup tool, but here it is also
A columnist on boston.com said it best, the new plan is called Medicare Part D. D says it best; D stands for disaster.