By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Health & Beauty | Issue: November 2014
Carol Carter and Cindy Loftin are part of the Medicare Assistance team at LIFE Senior Services.
To anyone who is on Medicare, few things are more confusing or overwhelming than the 31 choices for stand-alone prescription drug coverage in Oklahoma for the year 2015. These plans, known as Medicare Part D, can meet your prescription drug needs or leave you without. They can cost you money or save you money.
The Medicare Assistance Program at LIFE Senior Services can help you make the best choice. From October 15 through December 7, a period known as the Medicare Open Enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make any changes to their health and drug coverage. This coverage will become effective January 1, 2015.
Whether you are enrolling for the first time, considering a change in your drug plan or uncertain what to do, knowledgeable Medicare counselors can help you make the right decision for your situation. They will take into account whether you have current drug coverage. If you are enrolled in an HMO or PPO, you do not need a stand-alone Part D plan. They will also consider dosages, how much you are spending on prescription drugs and your monthly income.
Medicare Assistance Program Coordinator Cindy Loftin says everyone should review their prescription drug coverage each year. “Even if your current plan has served you well this year, the plan’s formulary, benefits and/or plan costs will probably be changing in 2015. In many cases there may also be a different plan available that better meets your needs.”
That’s why it is important to sit down with a counselor to review your needs. During last year’s Open Enrollment Period, 67 percent of the people LIFE assisted either enrolled in a Part D drug plan for the first time or switched their Part D plans for 2014. In doing so, almost all of them saved money on their 2014 drug costs, with an average savings of almost $1,600 per person.
Part D plans range from $15.70 a month to $140.90 a month. Some people who meet limited income and resources guidelines can apply for the Extra Help/Low-Income Subsidy (LIS). Through this federal assistance program, most of their drug plan costs will be paid by the government.
“Some people may have been eligible for years, but never applied,” says Cindy. “Or someone may have a loved one who is going without their medicine.”
“Our Medicare Assistance Program is another way that we help seniors live their lives to the fullest,” says Public Relations and Community Affairs Coordinator Carol Carter. For more than 40 years LIFE Senior Services, a nonprofit organization, has been promoting healthy aging and aging in place for seniors through a full range of interconnected services.
LIFE’s Medicare counselors will provide unbiased, understandable information to help compare Medicare Part D plans and assist in selecting or changing your drug coverage for 2015. There is no charge for this service. Appointments are available from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Each appointment takes approximately one hour. Slots are filling quickly. You’ll also need a list of your prescription drugs when you meet.
Those who are homebound or have transportation issues can call for a special phone appointment.
For more information, contact
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.