Drug plan deadline nearing

Published 9:19 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The deadline to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan without a penalty is approaching quickly.
Medicare recipients have until May 15 to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan without a penalty. The next enrollment opportunity will be Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.
Danny Cottrell, a pharmacist with Brewton Medical Pharmacy, said he will be available for help in coming weeks to assist anyone with enrollment questions.
Cottrell said he would be helping enroll people Wednesday, Thursday and Monday. Those who do not sign up by Monday, May 15, will receive a penalty.
&#8220People do need to remember that with this penalty it's 7 percent, but it's going to carry on through their lifetime. So, it might not sound like much this year, but you get a 68-year-old that lives another 25 years - that 7 percent could be an awful lot of money,” Cottrell said.
Cottrell said there are plans available at every price range, including $14 up to $67.
In the past six months, Cottrell said he has assisted nearly 2,000 people from surrounding areas. Mostly, it's by word of mouth.
On Tuesday, Cottrell was assisting Pauline and Robert H. Strength. Cottrell said he relies on customers like the Stranges to spread the word about the assistance he is providing so that he can help more people.
Helping is the least he can do, Cottrell said.
Everyone with Medicare had access to prescription drug coverage, regardless of income, health status or prescription drug usage beginning Jan. 1. Those who signed up for coverage by Dec. 31, 2005 had coverage beginning in January.
Like other insurance plans, Medicare prescription drug coverage requires a monthly premium. Companies may not set the yearly deductible at more than $250 in 2006.
Those with limited incomes may qualify additional help; those who currently receive Medicaid drug coverage will receive free coverage from Medicare beginning in January.
Medicare customers can call 1-800-Medicare, or visit www.medicare.gov for additional help on signing up.