Medicare enrollment event planned

Published 3:16 pm Saturday, October 28, 2017

People who are eligible for Medicare can receive free help in choosing among Medicare medical and prescription drug plans for 2018 at an enrollment event on Friday, Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Valley Grande Baptist Church at 48 County Road 16 in Valley Grande.

Medicare beneficiaries are especially urged to evaluate their plan options this year because a large number of new plan options will be available in Dallas County next year and many of the existing plans have large decreases and others have large increases in the cost of premiums and co-payments for 2018.

Many plans have also removed numerous important drugs from their coverage lists for next year.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), sponsored by the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging (ATRC), 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 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 ATRC 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 ATRC’s SHIP/SMP contractor, Davis & Associates, at 1-888-671-5246.

During the annual open enrollment period (Oct. 15 through Dec. 7), all Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in whatever Medicare medical and prescription drug plan they choose for 2018. Those eligible for Medicare whose household incomes are below $1527.50 monthly (one person household) or $2050 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 $522.50 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 1-888-671-5246 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 enrolled or suspect that 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 event 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 1-888-671-5246 and ask for help from the legal assistance program.