Only four weeks are left to sign up for Medicare prescription plan

Published 7:02 am Wednesday, April 19, 2006

By Staff
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) today reminded Southwest Michigan's seniors that they have less than 4 weeks to sign up for the voluntary Medicare prescription drug plan. Seniors have until May 15th to enroll in a program and experience immediate savings. The next opportunity to enroll will be Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.
"I want to be sure that every senior in Southwest Michigan is aware of the real savings available through the Medicare prescription drug program - an average savings of $1,100 per person to be exact," said Upton. "There are many options for our seniors to choose from, and I understand that it may be overwhelming for some folks, but there are resources available to help you select the right plan for your needs - ask a neighbor, a friend, a loved one or your local pharmacist for assistance. There are also many folks at the state and federal level to provide assistance in choosing a plan. Seniors should not be discouraged by the process, and while there were initial growing pains, the average wait for folks calling 1-800-MEDICARE is now less than 30 seconds. The savings that the plans offer are real, and seniors have until May 15 to select a plan that best suits their needs."
The new Medicare prescription drug benefit fully took effect on Jan. 1. The landmark new program provides all of the 1.48 million Medicare beneficiaries in Michigan with the voluntary option of joining a Medicare prescription drug plan. The more than 85,000 seniors in the 6th District who are eligible to participate in the Medicare drug program have until May 15 to select a plan. As of March 18, two-thirds of Michigan's seniors had already signed up to take advantage of the voluntary program.
Important points seniors need to know:
Medicare prescription drug coverage helps seniors pay for the prescriptions they need.
Medicare prescription drug coverage is available to all people with Medicare.
There is additional help for those who need it most.
Medicare prescription drug coverage pays for brand name as well as generic drugs.
To take advantage of the savings and sign up for the plan, or to learn more about the options available in their area, seniors should call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit . Seniors can receive free, personalized counseling from the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program by calling 1-800-803-7174. The "Medicare Prescription Plan Drug Finder" located on allows beneficiaries to compare drug plan features, such as a plan's annual cost, deductibles, premiums and copayments for a specific list of drugs. Seniors can also find information on the program on Upton's website at .