AARP volunteers helping seniors save money

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2004

South Point resident Kathy Moore has seen the value of the Medicare-approved prescription drug savings cards first hand.

They hit close to home - actually, in her home. Moore's mother, Eileen Tyler, takes 13 different prescriptions per month in addition to a number of over-the-counter medicines. One of the new Medicare cards will allow the family to reduce costs for one of the 74-year-old's prescriptions from an already-reduced $88 a month to value-priced $12.50. Ohio offers nearly 50 different Medicare cards from which seniors can choose.

The best card for an individual all depends on where they live, what medicines they take and what pharmacies they prefer.

Email newsletter signup

Lawrence County chapter of AARP volunteers such as Moore are helping make the choices a little easier. A free workshop to help cut through the confusion and narrow the choices will be from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ironton Senior Center on Park Avenue.

"The big thing is seniors just need to come in and see if they do qualify for these savings," Moore said. "There are people out there who worry about it today but then forget about it tomorrow."

Moore and the 18 other volunteers trained by the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program have been working to spread this message to seniors across the county during the past few weeks.

The volunteers help seniors fill out the paperwork to narrow the card choices to three, based on the medicines and pharmacies in the area.

The cards can cost seniors as little as nothing if they meet the income requirements. If not, prices range from $19.95 to $30 per year.

The discount cards are available to anyone on Medicare who does not have insurance paying for their prescriptions. However, even then some exceptions apply, such as Medicaid spend down or VA assistance.

Another key part of the new program is the $600 credit available with the Medicare-approved discount cards.

If seniors meet the income guidelines of $12,569 for a single person or $16,862 for a married couple, they can apply for the credit. The cards don't cost them anything and each comes with a $600 credit to spend on prescription drugs this year and another $600 in 2005.

"This will give people the opportunity to see if they are eligible for the credit and also give them some choices on the companies they can get the cards through," Moore said.

Lawrence County chapter President Marilyn Grant Howard could not stress how important this program is here in the county. Though she showered praise on all the AARP volunteers, Howard said that Moore has been very valuable to the organization and the seniors it serves.

"She is dedicated to helping people and is so pleasant while doing it," Howard said. "She has a real good personality and sense of humor so that she makes them feel special and explains things in a way they can understand."