Come Medicare Part D time (which is now), don't feel daunted -- help is at hand
Already the clock is ticking down toward the end of the enrollment -- and re-enrollment -- period for Medicare Part D. It opened Sunday and will end Dec. 31.
Need help figuring out what your drug needs are? We'll be offering advice in the Health section soon. In the meantime, here's an earlier guide to help you sort through your options...
New to Medicare Part D? Start at www.medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (633-4227) for a compendium of all things Part D.
Part D veteran? Head right to plan comparisons at Formulary (Drug) Finder. This option lets you compare the premiums, deductibles and drug co-pays for plans in your area. Be forewarned: The task is tedious.
WHO CAN HELP
My Medicare Matters, offered by the National Council on Aging, presents the very complex Part D information in simple terms and divides it into digestible chunks before sending you off to the next section.
The Medicare Rights Center, an advocacy group based in New York and Washington, D.C., offers Medicare Part D telephone counseling at (800) 333-4114 -- with plenty of advice on the website.
California Health Advocates is a nonprofit Medicare education and advocacy group with advice perhaps most useful, our earlier report said, for already-Medicare-savvy beneficiaries and caregivers.
The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program offers one-on-one counseling on Medicare, managed care and long-term care. A call to (800) 434-0222 is routed to the closest office.
The National Alliance for Hispanic Health, an advocacy group, can answer questions about Part D benefits for Spanish-speaking beneficiaries. Call (866) 783-2645.
-- Tami Dennis