Extra Help Arrives for Medicare Part D Beneficiaries at Area Agency on Aging in St. Joseph MI

The Working Together for Better Health Medicare Bus Tour arrived in St. Joseph MI to raise awareness and bring extra assistance to Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare Part D enrollment assistance and Low Income Subsidies are the focus of an on-going effort of the Region IV Area Agency on Aging and CMS.

St. Joseph, MI, October 21, 2007 --(PR.com)-- A crowd of approximately 300 people greeted federal officials on The Working Together for Better Health Medicare Bus when it stopped at the Area Agency on Aging on October 12. The purpose of the nationwide bus tour is to raise awareness about the upcoming open enrollment period for Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D is the prescription drug coverage for America’s seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries.

Open enrollment runs from November 15th through December 31st and is the only time that plan participants can change their drug plan.

“It is important for everyone to take a look at their Part D plan every year to be sure that it is still the right plan for them,” said Kathy Flores, Area Agency on Aging Medicare/Medicaid Specialist. “The plans change each year and what was the right plan for you last year may not be the right one now and may cost you more money than an alternative plan.”

Medicare Part D beneficiaries will receive an Annual Notice of Change letter from their current plan outlining the changes in their plan for 2008. “That letter is often very long and can be quite confusing,” Flores said. “We encourage everyone to carefully read that letter and call us if they have any questions or need any help at all understanding their options.”

Federal officials traveling with the tour also emphasized that there is help available for people with limited incomes in the form of a Low Income Subsidy (LIS). Jim Varpness, Regional Administrator, Administration on Aging said “We are working hard to reach people who are unaware, unsure or unable to apply for financial help."

Christine Vanlandingham, Area Agency on Aging Development Officer said, "There are an estimated 3,000 people in Southwest Michigan who qualify for the extra assistance provided by the Low Income Subsidies and are not getting the extra help because they have not applied for it.”

People who qualify for the Low Income Subsidy can enroll in a drug plan right away. They do not have to wait for the open enrollment period. For more information about Medicare Part D, the Low Income Subsidies or to schedule an appointment with a Medicare Specialist to review your plan, call the Area Agency on Aging’s Senior Info Line at 1-800-654-2810.

Area Agency on Aging, Region IV
Christine Vanlandingham