December 14, 2006

Medicare Assistance Seminar Rescheduled for Monday

Neither freezing rain nor snow will keep area residents from learning more about Medicare Part D. First District State Representative Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, announced this week that he has rescheduled the Medicare Part D sign-up assistance seminar in Memphis for later this month.

The lawmaker stated the move is necessary to make certain all area residents have the information they need to take advantage of the program and to possibly make changes in their current plan.

The seminar was originally scheduled for November 29th, but canceled due to bad weather.

Munzlinger has joined with Primaris and CLAIM, Missouri’s official state health insurance assistance program, to provide the seminar at the Scotland County High School in Memphis on Monday, December 18th at 6:00 p.m.

Medicare experts will be on hand to explain the prescription drug program, research plans suitable for each participant and to assist in enrollment.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone with a question to attend and have it answered by someone who knows the details of the program,” said Rep. Munzlinger. “Our goal is to register as many people as we can for the program. At the very least we want to arm our citizens with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions as to what plan may work the best for them.”

Potential participants should bring a list of their current medications, their preferred pharmacy and their Medicare Red, White and Blue card. Experts will provide the top five drug plan choices for each participant and assist in enrolling.

For more information about the seminar, contact Rep. Brian Munzlinger at 573-751-7985.

The new open enrollment period began November 15 and runs through December 31, with coverage starting January 1, 2007.

According to the AARP, people are urged to make their decisions early in December to allow for the timely processing of their applications.

“For the majority of Medicare beneficiaries, this is the first opportunity to change plans,” said AARP’s Amy Coffman. “It is also the first opportunity for beneficiaries to enroll if they missed the chance during the initial enrollment period, which ended in May. AARP encourages Medicare beneficiaries to shop around for the plan that best meets their needs and saves them money. They should sign up by December 8 so that their applications will be processed and all of their information will be in the computers by January 1.”

If Medicare beneficiaries are satisfied with their current plans and coverage, and their needs have not changed dramatically, then they do not have to do anything. Their coverage will continue. However, beneficiaries are urged to review information from their plans which may indicate changes to coverage or costs.

If beneficiaries are dissatisfied with their plans for any reason, AARP encourages them to shop around and find a better plan. There are more Part D plan offerings in Missouri in 2007, with premiums ranging from $18.20 per month to $123.80 per month. There are also new plans that offer enhanced benefits, including coverage through the gap, known as the donut hole, and zero-deductibles.

Beneficiaries with lower incomes can qualify for extra help in paying all or part of their Medicare Part D monthly plan premiums and co- payments. Contact the Social Security Administration, 1-800-772- 1213, to complete an application.

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