Medicare Prescription Drug Enrollment

Today, seniors interested in Medicare's new prescription drug program went to the Social Security Administration in Tyler.

Wanda Watson said she was unsure if the program was right for her.

"I came up here to try and figure out  this new medicine prescription program. I don't understand it. I've read that darn book a dozen times, and I still don't understand it."

Indeed, the new program is confusing.

Seniors currently participating in Medicare Part A or B can now take advantage of Part D, the Prescription Drug Plan. There are twenty prescription drug providers in Texas offering a wide range of potentials plans.

Monthly premiums start as low as 10 dollars a month, and go on up to 68. The copayment for each prescription can be any where from 2 to 75 dollars. Some plans don't have any deductible at all. Others can be as high as 250 dollars.

It's the myriad of options creating so much confusion. With so many plans available, how do seniors pick the right one?

Gwen Perry-Franks is an Operations Supervisor with the SSA.  She said, "I would probably look at my budget, and see what I could afford, and call those companies. Just to narrow it down, call those companies to see if they cover my medication."

But what if the only plan you can afford doesn't cover all of your medication?

What if you need a more expensive plan?

"If they can't afford it, right now we're taking applications for extra help which covers the premiums and deductibles for those plans. For that program they do need to come to the Social Security office, or call us, or they can apply online.

Medicare workers admit getting registered for the program could be a lot of work.

They tell us they hope the new prescription drug plan will mean big savings for some seniors.

Lindsay Wilcox, reporting.