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Help available for seniors

Area residents who are eligible for Medicare can receive free help in choosing among Medicare medical and prescription drug plans for 2009 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15, at the Colley Senior Complex at 715 Elm Street in Troy.

Appointments for the consultations may be made by calling the Colley Senior Complex at 808-8500.

Janet Motes, CSC director, said the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is sponsored by the South Central Alabama Development Commission Area Agency on Aging and provides information and assistance concerning health insurance issues to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages. Those who are over age 60 can also receive help with legal issues.

“We are scheduling appoints so that there is not a lot of wait time,” Motes said. “Several years back, Medicare-D was made available to those who are eligible for Medicare. This is the third year for the program and it’s a very beneficial program. Many people are taking a large number of medications every day and Medicare is the only insurance that they have so it’s most important that they have the right fit for the number and type of medications that they take.”

Motes said the annual open enrollment period ends on Dec. 31. All Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in whatever Medicare medical and prescription drug plan they choose until that date.

“Medicare eligible individuals are urged to consider carefully their choices for 2009 because the cost and coverage offered by the different plans available in Alabama will all change for the new year,” Motes said. “Attorneys from Davis & Neal Attorney at Law in Dothan will be at the Colley Senior Complex to assist individuals with making the best choices as far as cost and coverage. “Now is the best time to make a change in coverage if needed and it’s also the best time to enroll because attorneys will be here to help make the best decision for each person. There are so many prescription programs out there and it’s hard to know which will is best. So this assistance will be very beneficial in making the right decision.”

Those participating in the free information assistance event for Medicare, drug costs and legal issues will be asked to provide their Medicare card, date of birth and income information and should bring all of their current prescription containers.

Those eligible for Medicare whose household incomes are below $1,320 (one person household) or $1,770 monthly (two person household) may be eligible for extra help that could greatly reduce the cost of their coverage.

Those who cannot attend the event at the Colley Senior Complex on Dec. 15 may receive free help regarding these Medicare issues by calling 1-888-671-5246 or 671-3990.