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Medicare Breakdown: Confusing But Help Is Available

Idaho

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By Brooke Yerke

Since last year some big changes have come to Medicare. In 2004 it was the new prescription drug discount cards. This year it was new preventative care benefits. And in 2006, it will be a new prescription drug program.

It can be pretty confusing.

“It was a lot of small print and it seemed like a lot to read,” says Judy Hess, who is taking care of her elderly mother. She looked into the new prescription drug cards.

”The bottom line was I saw she made too much money and didn't qualify so I didn't pay any attention to it,” she says.

But it turns out her mother does qualify. Anyone with Medicare who doesn't have their prescription drugs covered by Medicaid does. Her mother just didn't qualify for the low income $600 drug credit.

These piles of paperwork, and different programs, make understanding Medicare extremely difficult. That may explain why many card sponsors like AARP are surprised by the low number of seniors enrolling in the program.

And things are only continuing to change. This January seniors with Medicare became eligible for new preventative benefits: a free diabetic screening test and a free cholesterol and blood fat test. New enrollees are eligible for a free physical.

Next year even more will change. A drug program is coming out the details on it are still being re-worked. Enrollment for that starts November 15 of this year.

People are available to walk through all these new programs with you. Just call 1–800–Medicare.


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