Medicare Part D is a public/private partnership. Medicare contracts with private insurance companies to provide this coverage. These contracts can be amended yearly and this is why everyone who has a Part D insurance policy should plan to review their coverage during the open enrollment period each year. The coverage that you have in 2011 could be subject to change in 2012. Now I want to be perfectly clear. Your plan may not change at all but if it does, your premium could be higher or some of your drugs might not be included on the formulary of covered drugs in 2012. You need to review your plan during the open enrollment period coming soon, 10/15/11 through 12/07/11.
Thankfully, Medicare has made it fairly simple to review your options. The Medicare website www.medicare.gov has several pages devoted to Medicare Part D including a link entitled “Compare Drug and Health Plans”. When you click on that link, you will be asked a series of questions about where you live, what drugs you take with exact dosages; you can even enter the name of your pharmacy if you wish. When all is entered, the program sorts through each of the Medicare Part D plans available where you live and lists them in order, starting with the lowest annual cost plan first. The program determines the annual cost by including the cost of the premiums, any deductible, the cost of your drug co-pays, the whole thing. It will also show you if any of your drugs are not included in the formulary. You will be able to evaluate the plans based on what each plan would actually cost you for a year.
If you don’t have a computer or anyone to help you, don’t worry. This year for the first time, the SHICK counselors in Barton County are training additional volunteers so that we will be able to help more individuals than ever before to review Medicare Part D options. Please call RSVP at 620-792-1614 to make an appointment for assistance.
Everyone Able to Read by Sharing or EARS is an important in-house program at RSVP. Volunteers in this program visit elementary schools and listen to students read. Each school utilizes the volunteers in different ways but the bottom line is the same. The children chosen by their teacher to work with a volunteer receive the extra attention and encouragement that can really make a significant impact. Please call RSVP if you would like to make a difference in the life of a child by donating a few hours a week to this valuable program.
Talk Listen Care or TLC is a new RSVP program funded by a grant from the Golden Belt Community Foundation’s John A. & Doris F. Graham Memorial Fund for Great Bend. Volunteers call a home-bound or isolated individual at an agreed time each day to ensure safety and well-being. If there is no answer and no prior notice of absence, an emergency plan goes into action. A few minutes a day can mean so much to someone who is alone. For more information, contact RSVP.
A Community Wellness Event will be hosted by Clara Barton Hospital, an RSVP partner, at the Hoisington Activity Center on Saturday, Oct. 15. Lab Testing begins at 6:30 - 10:30 a.m. and speakers will make presentations on health issues at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. There will be something for all ages so make plans now to attend.
Donna Baugh can be reached at 620-792-1614 or firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP is sponsored by Barton Community College.