Medicare presentations to give information on ‘extra help’

Published 8:06 pm Monday, October 5, 2009

As many as 4,000 limited-income Medicare recipients in South Hampton Roads, including Western Tidewater, may qualify for Medicare’s “Extra Help” benefit to pay for prescription drug costs but have not yet enrolled, according to Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia and the Virginia Department for the Aging.

In an effort to reach these Medicare recipients, Senior Services will host a special series of MedCare Access presentations Oct. 5-30 at locations across Western Tidewater. The free presentations also are available to any senior citizen who needs help navigating any aspect of Medicare and Medicare Part D as well as the “Extra Help” benefit.

Residents may qualify for Medicare’s “Extra Help” benefit if they are: single with $1,354 or less in monthly income and $12,510 or less in assets, excluding their home; or married with $1,822 or less in combined monthly income and $25,010 or less in assets, excluding their home.

The estimate of Medicare recipients who are eligible but not yet enrolled in the “Extra Help” program is based on data from the Social Security Administration, Medicare and the Internal Revenue Service.

The MedCare Access program, administered by Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, serves residents of Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County.

MedCare Access helps locate and assist income-eligible Medicare Part D “Extra Help” beneficiaries; provides answers to questions about Medicare Part D, and offers help in selecting a plan. Individuals also can use the program to connect to an array of services, such as meal delivery to those who are homebound and transportation and wellness programs.

MedCare Access Specialist Ann Okeefe will answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Part D and the “Extra Help” benefit during the presentations.

Presentations will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 19 and 26 at the Suffolk Work Force Development Center; at 11 a.m. Oct. 22 at the Mary Wells Community Center, 13036 Nike Park Road in Carrollton; and from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 16, 23 and 30 at the Smithfield Library, 255 James St. in Smithfield.

For more information, call Ann Okeefe at 328-4217.