COLUMBIA — Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program, has been confusing for many people, so state Rep. Mary Still is offering to help eligible residents sign up, her legislative assistant, Michael Butler, said.
Still will have an enrollment workshop from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Primaris Conference Center, 200 N. Keene St. Annual open enrollment runs from Nov. 15 until Dec. 31; those who enroll outside of open enrollment or outside of their initial enrollment period may incur penalties.
Reservations for the workshop are required, and space is limited. Call CLAIM, the state's health insurance assistance program, at 800-390-3330 to register. CLAIM also provides free Medicare counseling to Missouri residents through the toll-free number and on its website.
Thousands of Missouri residents miss out on opportunities for cheaper medicine, according to Still’s news release.
Part D beneficiaries have to pay some of the cost for prescriptions, but an additional Extra Help program within Part D can further reduce the cost for residents on a tight budget, according to the news release.
To qualify for Extra Help in 2011, a single person’s income must be no more than $16,245 and a married couple’s income no more than $21,855, CLAIM spokesman Jeremy Milarsky said. There is also a resource ceiling that includes stocks and bonds but excludes homes and cars, Milarsky said.
To enroll in Medicare Part D a resident must already be enrolled in Medicare. Medicare is for people older than 65, people younger than 65 who have a disability or people of any age with end-stage renal disease, which is “permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or transplant,” according to Medicare’s website.
Everyone with Medicare is eligible for the Part D drug coverage, but plans vary widely according to locations and the companies that administer them.