Info sessions set for Medicare drug plans

Published 3:02 am Tuesday, November 13, 2018

People who are eligible for Medicare can receive free help in choosing among Medicare medical and prescription drug plans for 2019 at enrollment events on :

• Tuesday, November 13, (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), at the Opp Senior Center (107 Main Street, 493-7121); on

• Wednesday, November 14 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), at the Andalusia Senior Center  (401 Walker Avenue, 222-4608); and on

• Monday, November 20 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), at the Florala Senior Center (1338 Fourth Street, 858-3310).

Medicare beneficiaries are especially urged to evaluate their plan options this year because many of the plans have large decreases and others have large increases in the cost of premiums and co-payments for 2019.  Some plans have also removed numerous important drugs from their coverage lists for next year.  The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), sponsored by the Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging (SARCOA), provide information and assistance concerning health insurance issues to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages.  In addition, if you are over 55 and do not have Medicare or Medicaid or if you are on disability or have medical evidence of disability at any age but you do not have Medicare yet, you can apply for free help obtaining prescription drugs through the SARCOA Senior Rx Program.  People who are over age 60 can also receive help with legal issues.

People should bring their prescription containers, Social Security cards, Medicare and any other health or prescription cards (if they have any), date of birth, and income information.

If you cannot attend, you may receive free help by telephone by calling SARCOA’s SHIP contractor, Davis & Associates, at (334) 303-7900.

During the annual open enrollment period (October 15 through December 7), all Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in whatever Medicare medical and prescription drug plan they choose for 2019.

Those eligible for Medicare whose household incomes are below $1537.50 monthly (one person household) or $2077.50 monthly (two person household) may be eligible for extra help that could greatly reduce the cost of their medical and prescription drug coverage. The income limits for larger household are increased $540.00 monthly for each additional person in the household who is financially dependent on the Medicare beneficiary. You can attend one of the events to enroll or you can telephone (334) 303-7900 to determine whether you qualify for any of these extra benefits.

In addition, if you are having problems with the medical or drug plan in which you  are  enrolled or if you suspect mistakes or fraud has occurred with any Medicare or other health insurance claim, you should attend one of the events or request help by telephone. Legal assistance will also be available at the events or by telephone to people over sixty years of age (regardless of income) who need help with non-criminal legal matters, such as a power of attorney. Call (334) 303-7900 and ask for help from the legal assistance program.