Local Workers Help Seniors with Last-Minute Medicare D Needs - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/15/06

Local Workers Help Seniors with Last-Minute Medicare D Needs

Richmond Hill pharmacist Al Dixon. Richmond Hill pharmacist Al Dixon.

Today is the last day for seniors to enroll in a Medicare D drug plan to avoid future penalties. We spoke with a lot of very busy people trying to help seniors sign up. From a local pharmacy to a congressman's office, everyone who can help, is helping seniors beat the deadline.

Phones were ringing off the hook at Coastal GeorgiaCares in Savannah. "We're getting ten calls every 20 to 30 minutes from the voice mail I am picking up, so it's pretty crazy," said Brandie McMahon, who is manning the phones until midnight tonight, helping anyone who needs it.

"We promote ourselves as helping seniors, and it seems irrational to say we'll help you until five," she said.

And Brandie's not alone. The office of US Rep Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist. 1) will also be staying open late. People who fail to meet the midnight deadline will be subject to a penalty, resulting in higher premiums and seniors are urged to file now.

"Not only so they avoid penalty, but primarily so they can begin saving as soon as possible, because they will save money on their medications," said Rob Asbell with Kingston's office. 

Richmond Hill pharmacist Al Dixon says lots of his patients have already signed up, but even with a lot of advance publicity about the looming deadline, he still feels it might not have been enough. "We had a number of town hall meetings, we provided a lot of education, but until you are able to sit down one on one, it really didn't help people."

Although Medicare D has been confusing for a lot of seniors, the deadline is crystal clear. If seniors don't submit forms by midnight, the next enrollment opportunity is in November.

People can enroll over the phone tonight by calling the Coastal GeorgiaCares office at 1-800-669-8387. They will take calls up until 11:45 tonight.

For people who can't make a decision today, there is still help available. Tomorrow, Senior Citizens, Inc., at 3025 Bull Street in Savannah, will offer one-on-one counseling from 9am to 4pm and again on Thursday. Their phone number is 236-0363.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly