Medicare program set for today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; If you have questions about the new prescription drug benefit available from Medicare, today is your lucky day.

That&8217;s when representatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies

&8212; the people who designed the new program &8212; will be in town to answer any questions and help people understand the program.

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That&8217;s no mean feat, either.

&8220;Medicare Part D is probably the most complicated thing ever done in the U.S.,&8221; Riverland Medical Center Administrator Vernon Stevens said. &8220;It&8217;s been a terribly confusing situation.&8221;

To help clarify matters, ten CMS representatives will be at Louisiana Technical College&8217;s Shelby M. Jackson Campus, 2100 E.E. Wallace Blvd., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to meet individually with those wishing to enroll or deciding whether enrolling would be right for them.

The deadline for enrollment in the program is May 15. Stevens recommends everyone with a Medicare card stop by to review the cost, convenience and value of each option.

Visitors are asked to bring their Medicare card and a list of their current medications, including dosages.

Who knows, you may find the plan you&8217;re signed up for isn&8217;t suited to your individual needs.

&8220;Just because your friend has a good plan, that doesn&8217;t mean its right for you,&8221; Stevens said.

The event is sponsored by the college, Riverland and the Louisiana Rural Health Association. Members of the Medicare Rx Access Network of Mississippi will also be on hand to help host the event.

Today&8217;s visit is one stop on an educational tour CMS is making to help people understand the options available to them under Medicare Part D, which took effect Jan. 1.

Ferriday was chosen as a location because of its high density of Medicare members, Stevens said.

Those who can&8217;t make the event but wish to learn more about the program can call Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE.