Counselors to help seniors with medicare drug benefit

| 29 Sep 2011 | 07:57

    During the enrollment period for the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Medicare Rx Education Network is encouraging Medicare beneficiaries to contact their local state health insurance assistance program to speak one-on-one with a counselor. Every state has such a program, though it may be called by different names (e.g., SHIP, SHINE, CLAIM, HICAP). Beneficiaries can find a state’s health insurance program by contacting the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116. Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and connects older Americans and their caregivers with sources of information on senior services. The service links those who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers. Open enrollment for the Medicare prescription drug benefit continues for six months, through May 15, 2006. The Network’s educational campaign to inform beneficiaries about this new insurance continues through events, advertising and training. Counselors at state health insurance assistance programs are prepared to answer questions about the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and help seniors review their choices. The Medicare Rx Education Network advises beneficiaries to prepare before speaking with a counselor by putting together a list of the medications currently being taken (including dosage, frequency taken, and cost for each), preferred pharmacies, and by noting current prescription drug coverage (if any).