Medicare assistance programs to be held in Linden, Demopolis

Published 10:56 am Thursday, October 24, 2013

Those who are eligible for Medicare can receive free help in choosing among Medicare medical and prescription drug plans for 2014 at enrollment events on Wednesday, Oct. 30 in Linden and on Thursday, Oct. 31 in Demopolis.

Medicare beneficiaries are urged to evaluate their plan options this year because many of the plans have large decreases and others have large increases in the cost of premiums and co-payments for 2014.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), sponsored by the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging (ATRC), provides information and assistance concerning health insurance issues to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages. In addition, if you are over 55 and do not have Medicare or Medicaid, or if you are on disability at any age but you do not have Medicare yet, you can apply for free help obtaining prescription drugs through the ATRC Senior Rx Program. People who are over 60 can also receive help with legal issues.

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Those interested can obtain assistance with any of these matters on Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Marengo Nursing Home in Linden, or on Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the West Alabama Senior Center in Demopolis.

People should bring their prescription containers, Social Security cards, Medicare and any other health or prescription cards, date of birth and income information.

If you cannot attend, you may receive free help by telephone by calling ATRC’s SHIP contractor, Davis & Neal, at 1-888-671-5246.

During the annual open enrollment period, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, all Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in whatever Medicare medical and prescription drug plan they choose for 2014.

Those eligible for Medicare whose household incomes are below $1456.25 monthly (one person household) or $1958.75 monthly (two person household) may be eligible for extra help that could greatly reduce the cost of their medical and prescription drug coverage. The income limits for larger households are increased $502.50 monthly for each additional person in the household who is financially dependent on the Medicare beneficiary. You can attend one of the events to enroll or you can telephone 1-888-671-5246 to determine whether you qualify for any of these extra benefits.

In addition, if you are having problems with a medical or drug plan in which you enrolled, you should attend one of these events or request help by telephone. Legal assistance will also be available at these events or by telephone to people over 60 years of age, regardless of income, who need help with non-criminal legal matters, such as a simple will or power of attorney. Call 1-888-671-5246 and ask for help from the legal assistance program.