7 On Your Side: Medicare Part D

Already, seniors are being inundated with television commercials. Companies approved by medicare offering plans categorized as Medicare Part D to help pay for your prescription drugs. With a November 15 start date to sign up, insurance companies will be fighting for your business. 78-year-old Irene Taylor of Chapel Hill has been getting offers by mail. "When I get them in the mail, [they say] go with us and you'll get a better deal, what have you," says Irene sitting in her home. "There's so many choices for seniors citizens and it's something new, it's changed. There's a lot of information that needs to be considered before they sign up for a plan," says Benefit Counselor for the Area Agency on Aging of East Texas Emily Taylor. But be on guard, the Texas Attorney General says scam artists are seeking to cash in on what, a lot of times, is a confusing process for seniors. The AG offers this advice: don't allow a salesperson to talk you into a coverage plan that is right for you; take your time choosing a plan. Don't provide your personal information to someone who calls you. Don't pay over the phone or by internet. Make the plan send you a bill. Finally, don't pay anyone a fee for helping you sign up. That process is free. For Irene, the advice doesn't fall on deaf ears. Years ago, she lost thousands when a scammer got her to invest money in a bogus Canadian lottery. "They are real good at their job and they're real smart at their job. And I never thought I could be scammed by anybody but before you know they talk you into it and it's too late you've already committed yourself,"says Irene. If you're unsure about a decision, stop immediately and call a family member or someone you trust. Medicare's details change every year but your efforts to avoid getting scammed should be unwavering. The Area Agency on Aging of East Texas" says it is there if you are a senior and have any questions about the plans under Medicare Part D. You can also call 1-800-medicare.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com