Medicare Part D help is available

By Times Staff Writer
Published November 5, 2005

Confused or hesitant about Medicare's new Part D drug coverage? Politicians, government officials and advocates want to help.

Four public gatherings will be held over the next 10 days to help people on Medicare understand the new benefit and, at some events, sign up for coverage that suits them best.

Monday, 10 a.m to noon at American Legion Post 5, 3810 Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Present will be Rep. Jim Davis, D-Tampa, and advocates from Medicare Today, AARP and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Nov. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the A La Carte Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa. Present will be former Sen. Bob Dole, officials from Medicare and the Social Security Administration and advocates from the Florida Council on Aging and Medicare Today. Seating is limited for this event. For a reservation, call (850) 222-8877.

Nov. 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Senior Extravaganza at Tropicana Field. Present will be officials from Medicare and the Social Security Administration, advocates from Medicare Today and AARP, and representatives from Florida's SHINE program, which advises seniors on insurance issues.

The signup period for 2006 Medicare coverage begins Nov. 15, whether you belong to a Medicare HMO or have traditional Medicare Parts A and B. Computers are expected to be available at the Tropicana Field event where Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for 2006 coverage on the spot, as well as get advice.

For comprehensive information on Medicare Part D, consult www.sptimes.com/medicare To share your thoughts and concerns about the new benefit, go to www.itsyourtimes.com and click on the medicare thread. Limited numbers of copies of the Oct. 30 Seniority section, which focused on Part D, also still are available for sale at all Times offices. For information on an office near you, call 1-800-333-7505.

For one-on-one assistance, contact a SHINE volunteer in your county by calling Florida's toll-free elder hotline - 1-800-633-4227. If you get an answering machine, leave a message, and the volunteer will return your call.