Medicare drug benefit enrollment moved up

Everybody needs to make the most of their health care dollars-- and avoid increases if at all possible. That's part of the reason seniors got together today for a workshop on Medicare held at the Calcasieu Office of Community Services.

Some of the seniors at the seminar came because they know from experience, it's important to make all the deadlines and know as much as possible-- or it may cost them money. Maybe that's part of the reason they also offer blood pressure checks.

Harold Ory says he's learned to re-evaluate each year for example to make sure, say with the drug benefit, that your carrier covers your medicine at a reasonable price. "Some of them do and some of them don't and you may end up paying a lot more for the program than necessary."

Aavonne Lambert says it's important to make sure your doctor uses the right diagnostic code on your paperwork. "If they don't code it right they wind up billing your insurance when it's really something that's supposed to be free."

Kathy Dorsey,  with the CCOA, says this year it's important to know the enrollment for the drug plan has been moved up to start in October. "This year it has been moved up. It will start October 15th and end December the 7th. So we're trying to educate people and make sure that they get in in the time frame that they're supposed to do comparisons on the plans that they have to the new plans coming out."

Those who put on the seminar also want seniors to know that insurance sales people are not supposed to be knocking on their door or approaching them, say at the drug store, you should only hear from an insurance person if you've invited them to talk to you. Explains Erica Kaough, with Calcasieu Police Jury Office of Community Services."No unsolicited calls. If you invite them in then they can come in. But if they're calling you and asking you to come into your home then that's not allowed." She says companies have been sanctioned for breaking the rules.

For more information or to set up an appointment to get help with your Medicare benefits call the Calcasieu Council on Aging at 474-2583 or the Police Jury Office of Community Services at 437-3560.

You can also see more of our interview with Kathy by clicking on the web extra.

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