AARP hosts forum on Medicare options for seniors

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2005

BURLINGTON - The Multipurpose Senior Center was near standing room only as seniors packed in to learn about Medicare prescription options on Tuesday.

AARP volunteers held a forum to assist seniors, their families and caregivers in making wise decisions about their healthcare, and inform them of the facts that govern all of the plans being offered by private insurers.

&#8220This coverage is voluntary, so people will have to decide if they want to enroll,” Ann Lemley, AARP volunteer who worked the meeting said. &#8220Then they will need to determine which plan would best fit their needs.”

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Helping Lemley to explain the new Medicare plans, how to compare them and apply for extra help (limited income subsidy), were representatives from the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program, Social Security Administration and the Lawrence County Department of Jobs and Family Services.

&#8220Right now people need to collect information so they can compare the plans being offered,” Lemley said. &#8220There is no rush. People need to take time to consider all their options.”

Open enrollment starts on November 15 and continues until May 15, for those who enroll in November and December; coverage can start on January 1. Beneficiaries who wait until the next open enrollment period can be charged a one percent per month penalty.

Lemley notes that people age 75 to 79 spend 25 percent more on drugs than people age 65-69. Next year, about one in five people on Medicare are expected to run up more than $5000 in prescription costs.

&#8220You want to consider what medications you take now and how you prefer to fill your prescriptions,” she said. &#8220But you also need to give some thought to the future and protection against potentially high drug costs should you health status change.”

In order to get the Medicare coverage for prescriptions, individuals must choose and join a drug plan. Some factors to consider when choosing a plan include coverage, cost, convenience and present and future peace of mind - these and other factors will vary by the individual's situation and needs.

The most important thing now is to be informed. For additional information: Contact AARP at 888-687-2277 or visit the web site at, Contact Medicare at 800-633-4227 or go to