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MEDICAID TIMELINE - October 6, 2005

I have been reminded repeatedly by a son and his wife that I need to register for the Medicare drug coverage program that will soon be available. This is good advice for all of us who are eligible. We must take the initiative in caring for our own health.

I asked several people for information and did some research on the Internet. In most cases, either I was told that information would be coming later or what is available is too controversial and lengthy. So I did not do anything.

I was determined to find out what needs to be done, when and who can help, and I finally have some information. I talked to Opal Harris, Senior Health Insurance Program counselor at the Senior Citizens Center. She has been trained to help each beneficiary choose the plan best and to make sure anyone entitled to the coverage will receive it. She will talk to any interested party on an individual basis. Call 354-7822 and make an appointment

Here is a time line provided by Opal.

October

1. “Medicare And You” handbook has been mailed to all beneficiaries, with drug plan information.

2. Routine monthly notices will be sent to all eligible persons.

3. CMS assigns full benefit dual eligibles to prescriptions plans.

4. CMS notifies plans of full dual auto enrollees.

November

Begin routine monthly auto enrollment of new full dual eligibles.

December 31

Last chance for full benefit duals to change plans prior to auto enrollment.

After reading what is written above, I still recommend getting in touch with Opal and attending an explanation session that she will be hosting in the near future. The Chronicle will provide periodic reminders.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand and say, “I don’t understand all of this.” It is our future. We must understand.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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