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Archive for Sunday, May 14, 2006

Enrollment deadline for drug program is set for Monday

May 14, 2006

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Time is running out if you plan to enroll in the federal government's Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance program.

The deadline is midnight Monday.

During the past two weeks, senior citizens eligible for the program have showed renewed interest in getting signed up, according to representatives of senior citizen centers and agencies that assist seniors.

"Since tax day, it has really picked up," said Katie Glendening, Lawrence counselor with Senior Health Insurance Counseling of Kansas (SHICK).

Glendening has been conducting seminars about the Medicare program for the past several months at the Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt. There will be two more seminars Monday: from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

SHICK representatives have been helping people enroll in the program, and they will continue to do that Monday.

An estimated 70 percent of Kansas' senior citizens have already enrolled in the program, according to the Kansas Department on Aging.

"There are some people who won't sign up for one reason or another," said Barbara Schoof Conant, spokeswoman for the aging department. "The deadline is getting close, and I think a lot of people took some time to do their homework diligently and make some decisions."

The state's SHICK hot line, 1-800-860-5260, is taking calls today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to answer questions about Medicare Part D. The phone line will stay in operation until 11 p.m. Monday. In addition, people can call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227), which is staffed 24 hours a day.

More on Medicare Part D

The Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging, 1720 S.W. Topeka Blvd., in Topeka will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to assist with enrollment. You also can call the agency at (785) 235-1367.

Jayhawk AAA also issued a warning to residents of Jefferson County about individuals attempting to sell insurance by going door to door. The agency urges people not to discuss Medicare D with door-to-door salesmen and not to give out private information such as Social Security numbers.

After the Medicare D deadline another enrollment period won't be held until November. SHICK in Lawrence will take calls after the deadline from people who have enrolled but are having problems, Glendening said.

Those who enrolled in the program early encountered numerous glitches with the drug program, but many are now happy with it, Glendening and others said.

"A lot of people say it's been good," she said. "In the few times I've heard bad things, we have processes we can go through to fix it."

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