Medicare Seminar Helps Seniors Understand New Drug Plan - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/28/05-Tyler

Medicare Seminar Helps Seniors Understand New Drug Plan

In only a matter of days the Medicare's new prescription drug plan will go into effect, but it's still leaving many seniors confused. Wednesday, Representative Louie Gohmert hosted an information seminar to help senior citizens understand the drug policy.

A few seniors we spoke with are doing their homework to find the best plan. Mary Bykes is considering the Medicare Plan. Bykes says, "In my Medicare book I found it conflicting some of it would say one thing and then you would interpret it in a different way." Seniors who attended the seminar say the plan is confusing.

Dave Munford is having trouble finding information to compare the different Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. "I called four different insurance companies to send me information so I could work through it. And only two responded," says Dave. He is having to do the foot work because he doesn't have access to the Internet. "I wanted to make a comparison. The two that I compared did have a large disparity in price," says Dave.

Sylvia Garcia with the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services, answered drug plan questions from more than 300 seniors and care takers. "We are talking about what your options are when you are picking a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. They need to see what pharmacy they enjoy going to and what medications they take. Then that's really going to determine what plan is best for them," says Garcia.

Because each plan covers different prescriptions. You need to make sure you choose a plan that includes your medications. Here are some things you need to know before you get started. First, what your current prescription plan covers because the Medicare Drug Plan may not save you any money. Second, know what prescriptions you take. Then you can get compare plans.

"It's not something that you can just sit down and go through. Thank goodness they all have phone numbers that you can call," says Dave. He says it's time consuming and he's headed home to begin another round of comparison shopping.

If you sign up for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan before December 31st, it will go into effect on January 1st. However, you do have until May 15th to enroll.

If you would like to speak with a Medicare counselor you can call them at 1-800-MEDICARE or visit their website, medicare.gov.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.

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