Information sessions are being held throughout Northern Nevada to better inform Medicare recipients of their prescription plan options through the Medicare Rx program.
Open enrollment began Nov. 15 and continues through Dec. 31. Those eligible have until May 15 to enroll, without a penalty.
"We want to get everybody going in the same direction," said Jim Denton, coordinator of Medicare Rx Access Network of Nevada.
"We're trying to get information out - on where and how to sign up."
A Medicare, Social Security representative from Reno will be at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today to provide information and answer questions on the program. Another session will be held from 1:30-5 p.m. Dec. 13 at the center.
"Another way to help is for children to help their parents who are not computer savvy," Denton said. "There are many seniors out there who have never touched a computer."
The Medicare Web site is www.medicare.gov. Information needed to work the formulated program is the recipient's Medicare number, name of medication(s), dosage (milligrams) and ZIP code.
The information will help the computer to eliminate most programs, leaving a manageable few to choose from.
"The people are finding out it's not all that confusing, and it's not that difficult to do," said Dani Denton, co-coordinator.
Marilyn Wills, director of Nevada Division for Aging Services, said there are 303,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Nevada.
"For those on Medicaid and Medicare (both plans), they will be automatically rolled over to the new program," Wills said. "They are called 'dual eligibles.' The $1 and $3 co-pays these clients would have through the new program will be covered by tobacco settlement funds."
"Volunteers with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program are at the Douglas County Senior Center from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday for one-on-one assistance on the computer to help people enroll in the program," said Warren Bottino, center director.
Those wanting help should call 783-6455 for an appointment.
Wills estimates there are about 140,000 people receiving low-income assistance who may qualify for the program.
"Those who are (eligible), most likely do not know they are eligible," Wills said. "We are trying to reach them through Social Security Administration, staff and social workers.
"If they at all think they are eligible, please fill out the form (mailed to them) and send it in to us. Or call the 800 Medicare number. The number may be busy, but keep trying."
Wills said even those who do not take prescribed medications should consider joining to pay a lower monthly premium than if they were to join at a later date.
The Silver Springs Senior Center will have a Medicare information session hosted by High Sierra, at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 11. The center is at 1050 Pyramid Ave.
Being called the biggest change to the Medicare program in more than 40 years, the Medicare Rx program offers 18 plans to eligible residents in Nevada.
Regardless of income, existing medical conditions or current prescribed medications, anyone with Medicare Part A and/or B is eligible under the new program.
-- Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.
If you go
WHAT: Medicare information session from Social Security/Medicare office in Reno
WHEN: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. today; and 1:30-5 p.m. Dec. 13
WHERE: Carson City Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive
WHERE: Topaz Ranch Estates Community Building
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Thursday
WHERE: Douglas County Senior Center, 2300 Meadow Lane, Gardnerville
WHEN: 9-11 a.m. Dec. 9
WHERE: Silver Springs Senior Center, High Sierra, 1050 Pyramid Ave.
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Jan. 11
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