GREENEVILLE, TN – Still confused about Medicare Part D? Apparently, you’re not alone.
Takoma Adventist Hospital Pharmacist Sam Thomas will discuss the complicated new prescription drug benefit, and answer questions at the next “Time Out For Your Health” luncheon-lecture series on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Everett and Carolyn Coolidge Volunteer Conference Center. The lecture will start at noon, with a catered lunch preceding the program at 11:30 a.m.
This new drug benefit, called “Part D,” is the result of the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, Thomas explained.
“It’s confusing at best,” he said. “At the center of this act is the prescription drug benefit that went into effect January 1st of this year. The hope is that this program will make prescription drugs more affordable and provide millions of older Americans with much needed help.”
Medicare Part D applies to both Medicare and Medicaid patients, Thomas explains.
In a nutshell, numerous private insurance companies authorized by Medicare are now offering different plans to help the elderly with prescription costs as part of this voluntary “Medicare Part D” program. Participants need to know their income and personal net worth to apply, he noted.
The program benefits began Jan. 1st, and enrollment is open until May 15 without penalty. After May 15, premiums increase by 1 percent every month.
“Everyone now has choices to make,” Thomas said. “They can stay in traditional Medicare, a Medicare HMO or a retiree plan without signing up for the drug benefit. Or, they can stay in traditional Medicare and enroll in a stand-alone drug plan. Or, they can enroll in a private health plan that offers drug coverage and Medicare health services. The good news is they can try one of the plans and change their mind without penalty until May 15.”
The “Time Out” program costs $5, which includes a heart-healthy lunch at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required. For more information, please call the Takoma Volunteers at 639-3151, Ext. 2103.