Medicare Prescription Plan

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

We talked to several senior citizens today and our overall impression was that while they think the plan is a great idea, they are a bit intimidated with the process of signing up.

"In our region, there are 17 or 18 drug companies that have set up 44 different types of prescription drug plans. When I use those numbers, that tells you why people are so confused because there are so many choices," says Laurie Olson, the program manager of Nevada Senior Rx.

She says the process can be manageable. First, she advises you figure out which plan covers all or most of the maintenance drugs you need...like medications for diabetes and blood pressure...

"Once you narrow down the choices...then you can look at how much premium you want to pay and what the co-pays might be. Because each plan will have a different amount based on the drug price."

People eating lunch at the Washoe County Senior Center are--for the most part--thrilled with this new option. But because it's so new and so involved, many are skeptical of signing up.

"Nobody's aboard, nobody knows. Nobody is willing to put their stamp on it. Until they do, it's a wait and see," says Bob Coleman.

"We need more benefits because we worked too hard and we thought when we turned 65, we'd get what we worked for. But that's not enough," adds Ester Paquette.

This new program is not mandatory, but Laurie Olson says it could open doors for many people.

"For those folks who have never had prescription coverage, all of a sudden, they're going to have opportunity. I think it's going to be great for them."

There are a number of resources to help you or a loved one through this process.

You can log on to the medicare website: www.medicare.gov.

Or call them: 1-800-MEDICARE.

Or try the State Health Insurance Assistance Program: 1-800-307-4444.

For people who are members of Senior Rx, call: 1-866-323-5953.


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