Medicare Prescription Coverage Update

Undoubtedly, you are hearing about some of the changes on the horizon for Medicare patients. Beginning the first of the year, Medicare will offer prescription drug plans (Medicare Part C and D) with the help of insurance companies and HMOs. Like other insurance coverage, the plans will be voluntary and require a premium and co-pays. Costs will vary depending upon the plan you select.

Rest assured that Mercy Medical Group is here to help you understand these changes and navigate the system to make sure you continue to receive the best care possible with the least amount of effort. It’s also important to understand that you will not be able to make any changes in your Medicare coverage until Nov. 15 when the enrollment period begins and the changes will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2006.

If you are a senior with limited income, Social Security may be able to help you with prescription costs. To find out if you are eligible, call 1.800.772.1213 (TTY 1.800.325.0778) and ask for help with Medicare prescription costs. You can also complete an application today by going online to socialsecurity.gov.

Here are a few helpful dates to remember:

August:
You may identify yourself as low income and apply for help with prescription costs from Social Security (1.800.772.1213).

Oct. 7-20:
Medicare will mail Medicare and You handbook, including health and drug plan benefit and cost information, to all beneficiaries.

Oct. 13-15:
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder Web site and customer service hotline will be available (medicare.gov or 1.800.Medicare [633-42273])

October-November:
Mercy will hold public Town Hall meetings to discuss the Medicare Drug Benefit and available plan choices. Dates and times will be posted on our Web site (mymercymedgroup.org) as the time approaches.

Nov. 15:
Enrollment period for prescription drug plans begins for all Medicare beneficiaries.