Prescription drug deadline looms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Prescription drug deadline looms

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December 28, 2005

Albany- Time is running out for former state employees who must pick new prescription drug plans.  If they don't choose a plan by Saturday, they will likely have to pay more for their prescriptions for an entire year.

The question on many south Georgia senior's minds this holiday has been which prescription drug program to choose. The deadline for many is this Saturday.

"I was so confused, I really couldn't sleep at night. Somebody my age doesn't need to be that confused," said Helen McComb.

Helen McComb and many others have found help from their local Pharmacist.

"Your pharmacist is one of your best sources. Of course, we do not endorse one plan over the others, but your pharmacist can look at your drugs, your own, and see what plan kind of best fits and covers your drugs," said Celia Taylor, U-Save-It Pharmacist.

Confusion continues and the Georgia Cares office is getting 250 calls a day.

"The biggest question is, How do they choose their plans?" said Kathy Jenkins, Georgia Cares.

Seniors who are former state employees only have until December 31st to sign up, if they don't the state will place them in a plan that may not cover their prescriptions. The sooner you sign up, the better.

"If you get signed up before December 31st then your actual benefits will go into effect January 1st," said Jenkins. 

After the first, as soon as you sign up, the plan will take affect, the following month, so if you're paying for your prescription now, it may benefit you to sign up earlier than May. It's put Helen at ease, knowing that come the new year, she'll be covered.

"It was just like a load off my shoulders. Every day I heard about new plans and new plans and talked to so many different people and all of them were confused too, but Celia was a life saver," said McComb.

The Georgia Cares office has been swamped. If you've called with questions and haven't heard from someone don't worry, they're handling the most urgent cases first and promise to return calls as soon as possible. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE for help.

State retirees with Medicare, Medicaid coverage must sign up before the end of the year. Everyone else has until May 15th to sign up. Georgia Cares plans to hold more informational sessions in January, February, and March to deal with question and help seniors sign up.

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