County to offer free program to help reduce Medicare Part D drug costs

October 9th, 2020     Health & Wellness

Union County Medicare Part D participants will again have access to free counseling in selecting the best drug plan to meet their needs.

Beginning Oct. 15 and lasting through the open enrollment period until Dec. 7, a qualified counselor to help compare plans and costs will be available at the Union County Board of Supervisors office on Main Street on a regularly scheduled basis.

The program is sponsored by the county board and offered by Three Rivers Planning and Development District with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

There is no cost for the counseling.

“There is nothing hidden here,” Board of Supervisors President Randy Owen said. “This is not a sales scheme. No one will ask for money now or later.”

As always, the cost of whichever plan a person chooses will be deducted from the person’s Social Security check, in the same way costs for other parts of Medicare are.

During the open enrollment period, anyone with a Part D plan may search for and enroll in a cheaper plan effective Jan. 1.

Three Rivers Medicare Coordinator Wade Holland told supervisors that this past year almost 1,000 participants saved an average of $1,017 annually in out-of-pocket drug costs. “People almost always find they can save money,” he said.

In 2019, county counselors completed 1,293 comparisons. Of them, 118 were new to Medicare, 244 elected to keep their current plan and 931, or 79 percent of those assisted found a less expensive plan.

In Union county, 130 participated and saved $81,000, Holland said.

Participants will need to bring their Medicare cards and a list of prescriptions. Counseling usually takes about 30 minutes because the counselor can find several different plans to compare.

The local counselor will be Kay Wicker, who has experience with the problem. “She did a great job before and will again,” Holland said.

The Union County Board of Supervisors office is at 108 E. Main Street and it might be good to call for an appointment rather than having to wait. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and the phone number is 662-669-0832.

A mailed reminder will be sent to each home address in the eight counties served by Three Rivers closer to the enrollment period.

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