Georgia Cares is helping seniors now - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia Cares is helping seniors now

December 9, 2003
Albany- At the age of 81, Waver Curtis takes about a dozen different medications every day.

They keep her healthy. But good health comes at a high cost.

These pills run about $500 a month. With the help of the Georgia Cares program, her cost dropped to $130 a month.

"I knew there was some help somewhere, but I didn't know how to get it," Curtis said.

Chances are the new Medicare program will help Waver too. The major part of the plan is a $400 billion prescription drug benefit. The benefit covers three-quarters of drug costs up to $2,250. It also covers most bills above $3,600.

But the program doesn't begin until 2006. That leaves a lot of time for senior citizens to pay hefty drug bills. And more bad news, the Georgia Cares program could be on the chopping block next year.

"Last year, we saved $1 million to the people we were able to help," said Debbie Blanton, coordinator for the Georgia Cares program for the Southwest Georgia Council on Aging. "$1 million in prescription drug cost. That's a lot of money."

Even when the Medicare changes take effect, some seniors may still need Georgia Cares. Medicare is complicated and often hard to understand.

"Then when you start trying to keep up with how much you've spent, what's your cut off on your drug bills," Blanton said. "I'm afraid a lot of them are going to struggle with that."

Waver's just glad she's not struggling with the cost of her medicine.

"I hope Georgia Cares stays here, regardless of this other program Mr. Bush signed," Curtis said.

Because as long as Georgia Cares keeps caring for her, she can keep enjoying good health.

Georgia Cares just started two years ago. You have to be on Medicare to qualify. For more information, call toll free at 1-800-669-8387.

posted at 9:25 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com