Wednesday, January 23, 2013 —
RALEIGH — The details, options and deadlines surrounding Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) still confuse many people. If you’re like some Medicare beneficiaries out there, you may have kept your PDP simply so you wouldn’t have to worry about the six-week annual election period.
However, you may have now discovered that some of your drugs that were covered last year are not covered this year. You might feel stuck. Here’s the good news. If you fall into one of two categories, you might not be stuck with your plan after all.
If you currently have Medicare and Medicaid, or if you have Original Medicare and have been approved for the federal Extra Help Low Income Subsidy (LIS) program through the Social Security Administration, you have a continuous special election period to change your Medicare Part D PDP. This means that you may change your Medicare PDP at any time.
Extra Help assists eligible Medicare beneficiaries in paying for their prescription drugs. To qualify for Extra Help, your annual income must be at or below $16,335 for an individual or $22,065 for a married couple living together. Your total resources must be limited to $13,300 for an individual or $26,580 for a married couple living together. The resources do not include a primary residence or a vehicle. If you have not applied for the Extra Help program and think you may be eligible, call SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Infor-mation Program, at 1-800-443-9354 or the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You may also apply directly online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Medicare is a confusing topic for most people, but SHIIP is available to help you work through your options. SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Infor-mation Program, is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance that provides free and unbiased information about Medicare to beneficiaries and their caregivers.
If you have any questions or concerns about your Medicare options, call SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or visit www.ncshiip.com.
You can also meet with a certified SHIIP Volunteer Counselor in your community to discuss your Medicare options. To arrange an appointment with a local SHIIP Volunteer Counselor, contact the SHIIP Coordinating Site in Stanly County – NC Cooperative Extension, Stanly County Center – (704) 983-3987; call SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or visit www.ncshiip.com.