Monday January 23, 2006
Five Options for Medicare Part D Enrollment Assistance
Mayor Jerry Abramson today outlined the city’s efforts to help Louisville senior citizens understand and enroll in the new Medicare Part D prescription drug plans before the federal government’s May 15 deadline.
“We understand the new Medicare program may not be an ideal plan for everyone, but it is the only option available for many seniors in our community,” said Abramson. “The application process is detailed and can be tedious, so we planned these workshops to help ease the anxiety of our elderly residents.”
Under the Medicare Part D plan, senior citizens pay a monthly premium and receive prescriptions through their local pharmacies at a reduced price. Seniors have the choice of enrolling in more than 42 plans. If seniors do not enroll in a plan before the May 15 deadline, their premiums increase by 1 percent for each month they wait.
“We understand those premium penalties can be difficult to afford for many elderly people on fixed incomes,” said Abramson. “We do not want our residents to put off enrolling because they don’t understand the plans.”
The city offers five different opportunities for residents seeking help with Medicare Part D enrollment. Services, available at no cost to seniors, range from group workshops at the city’s Senior Nutrition sites, to one-on-one assistance at the Louisville Community Action Partnership (CAP) and Portland Family Health Center, to computer access at local libraries for on-line enrollment.
Residents seeking assistance will need to provide a complete list of their prescriptions, including exact drug name and dosage. Most find it helpful to bring along the prescription bottles. Residents will also need income information, current prescription benefit coverage, name of local pharmacy, and Medicare and Social Security cards.
Seniors seeking assistance through the Family Health Center will need to bring their patient identification cards. The city is offering many of these services in partnership with the Kentucky Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA), the state-designated Area Agency on Aging. Jennifer Fahey, who works in the Louisville CAP office, is the state coordinator for Kentucky Seniors Saving Medicare, one of the lead agencies for Medicare Part D enrollment in Kentucky.
“It’s important for local communities to provide trained counselors in locations where seniors can ask questions and get answers tailored to their specific situation,” said Barbara Gordon, KIPDA social services director. “Help from an objective advisor in your hometown is best, and it will take the entire network to assure all Medicare beneficiaries make an informed decision.”
For more information about the workshops or Medicare assistance, visit www.louisvilleky.gov
or call MetroCall at 311. Louisville Metro Medicare Part D Assistance Medicare Mondays
Through the end of February, trained staff and volunteers will assist residents at Senior Nutrition sites. The workshops are held on Mondays, 10 a.m.-2p.m.
January 23, Fern Creek High School, 9115 Fern Creek Road
January 30, Fairdale Center (Fairdale Playtorium), 10616 W. Manslick Road
February 6, Watson Powell Community Center, 1340 Heafer Road
February 13, Neighborhood House, 201 N. 25th Street
February 20, Shively Nutrition Center (St. Basil), 3901 Wayside Drive
February 27, Okolona/Wilderness Road, 8111 Blue Lick Road
For more information, call 574-MEAL or 266-6084.
Louisville Metro Human Services
Seniors seeking enrollment assistance may ask questions about Medicare Part D on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the third floor of the Urban Government Center, 810 Barret Avenue. For more information call 574-5050.
Louisville Metro Community Action Partnership
One-on-one enrollment assistance is available on Thursdays, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the 1200 S. Third Street office through the May 15 enrollment deadline. Seniors may make an appointment by calling 574-1157, ext. 307.
Family Health Centers
Family Health Center clients can receive one-on-one consultations in the Behavioral Health Resource Center on the third floor of the Portland clinic, 2215 Portland Avenue. Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. by calling 772-8370.
Louisville Free Public Library
All local libraries have computers available for residents who would like to apply for Medicare Part D online. Library employees are not trained to advise residents about plans, but can help citizens access the www.Medicare.gov website.