Seniors Question New Medicare Plan

1 decade 11 months 3 days ago January 02, 2006 Jan 2, 2006 Monday, January 02 2006 Monday, January 02, 2006 4:33:49 PM CST in News

The program started Sunday, and so far it's getting mixed reviews. Pharmacist Blaine Alberty has been holding information sessions and talking with lots of seniors about the complex Medicare prescription plan.

"It's a huge program, just getting started with it is always going to be interesting," said Alberty. "There are going to be some time delays, probably trying to get everyone kind of up to speed on how the system's going to work ultimately." 

Getting the right plan seems to be the hard part. People who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid are assigned a plan. They can try it out for 30 days and change if it doesn't work.

Others can choose their own plan. Each plan covers different medicine, and has different co-payments and deductibles.

"I think its going to save me about 45-50% of my drug costs, so it's a big help," said Medicare recipient Dennis Knipp.

But, other's don't think they'll benefit at all.

"What I have found out for myself is, to pay the insurance fee, to pay the co-pays would cost me more than to buy the medications straight out," explained Mildred Cooke, who is eligible for Medicare.

The program is voluntary, but low-income people could get more help to pay for their medicine. Less than 30% of eligible people have signed up for the program.

The deadline for signing up is May 16. If you don't sign up by then, you have to pay a penalty if you want to enroll later.

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