11/13/07 — Medicare drug plan signups scheduled for later this week

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Medicare drug plan signups scheduled for later this week

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 13, 2007 1:51 PM

For Medicare recipients, Thursday will mark the beginning of the 2008 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment period.

Running until Dec. 31, it is a window of opportunity for people holding the Medicare Red, White and Blue Card -- seniors, 65 years old and older, and adults who have been disabled for at least two years -- to sign up for a plan for the first time, change plans or withdraw from a Medicare Advantage plan. Eligibility for the program is not based on people's income or assets.

It is the third such open enrollment period that has been held for the program, which officially began in January 2006.

"By now, people are starting to figure out what these plans are and what they mean," said county Services on Aging Director Yvonne McLamb.

But, she cautioned that people still need to make sure they're selecting the right plan for their circumstances.

This year, there are 52 widely varying plans to choose from -- one more than during the 2007 enrollment period.

"There are some very cost effective plans out there," she continued. "But it's important for people to not choose a plan just because that's what their neighbor might have or a family member might have. They need to make a decision based on their own needs."

And so, from Thursday until Dec. 31, the county Services on Aging office will be helping people do just that.

On Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., volunteers from the state Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program will be on hand at the Wayne County Public Library in Goldsboro to help with the process, with no appointment necessary.

After Thursday, though, people should call the services on aging office -- located at 100 South John Street -- at 731-1591 to set up an appointment with a Medicare counselor. All the sessions are free of charge.

"We're here to help you do an individual review for your plan," Ms. McLamb said.