Medicare Assistance Program A Success In Edina
By Beth Hunolt
The prescription drug program, or Medicare Part D, is available to Medicare beneficiaries that are enrolled in the program. This year’s enrollment period began on November 15th and ends on December 31st.
Beneficiaries enrolled in Part D still pay an out-of-pocket cost for their prescription needs. Extra Help, a supplementary program meant to help those who have trouble paying for their prescription needs, can reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries living on a tight budget.
On Wednesday, December 2nd, representatives of the Knox County FBLA and CLAIM (Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri) volunteers met with Medicare Part D recipients to help enroll them, online, in the Extra Help program. CLAIM has been Missouri’s State Insurance Assistance Program since 1993, and provides free, confidential and unbiased health insurance counseling to Medicare recipients.
Eligible beneficiaries started to pour into the computer lab at the Knox County High School at four o’clock. They were then paired up with an assisting volunteer. The team would then go online to the Medicare website and enter the recipient’s prescriptions to get the corresponding numerical codes for the prescriptions. The volunteers also helped the visitors search the web site and to find the best prescription plan with that person’s specific medical needs. This ensures that the Medicare beneficiary is receiving the proper prescription plan for their individual medical needs.
Under the direction of FBLA instructor Judy Shultz, FBLA students signed a confidentiality sheet in order to take part in the community event. Mrs. Shultz said, “ The Knox County FBLA volunteered as part of our community service project to help with this event. Representative Munzliger’s office contacted me and then came and walked the members of FBLA through a practice run of how to enter the information for seniors.”
Mrs. Shultz’ FBLA students help greet patrons, escort them to the computer lab, enter data at www.medicare.gov for the seniors to compare rates, and helped update or change insured beneficiaries plans.
According to the federal government many Medicare beneficiaries do not know about the program. An estimated 42,000 eligible Missourians qualify for the program but do not receive the help because they are unaware of its existence. Volunteers of CLAIM and of the Knox County FBLA spread the word and provided the beneficiaries with the proper tools to receive their full benefits. Through the efforts of CLAIM, Representative Munzlinger and the Knox County FBLA members, 36 more eligible beneficiaries have the knowledge and assistance in meeting their medical needs.