By Alyssa Schnugg
Lafayette County residents who are Medicare Part D participants will soon have access to free counseling to help select the best drug plan to meet their individual needs.
Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the Mississippi Department of Aging and Adult Services and the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors have teamed up again this year to provide the free service.
Starting Oct. 15, qualified counselors will be at the Lafayette County Chancery Building on the second floor from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday through the open enrollment period which ends on Dec. 7.
Other counties participating include Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc and Union counties.
Counselors will assist Medicare Part D participants to search for the best option for themselves and also provide assistance to help them enroll on-the-spot.
“There is nothing hidden here,” said Lafayette County Supervisor and Board President Mike Roberts. “This is not a sales scheme. No one will ask for money now, or later. The cost of the insurance will be deducted from the person’s Social Security check monthly, like other aspects of Medicare.”
Last year, more than 1,000 people participated in the counseling and saved an average of $1,017 annually in out-of-pocket drug costs, according to Roberts.
In 2019, county counselors completed 1,293 comparisons. Of those, 118 were new to Medicare, 244 elected to keep their current plan and 931 – or 79% – found a less expensive plan.
“When you change your medications and are on a fixed income, they got a Part D plan for Medicare and it may be the one they needed then, but over the years, their medications may change, prices may change and it may be cheaper to go to a different plan and they just don’t know,” Roberts said.
People who wish to see a counselor should bring their Medicare card and a list of prescriptions they are currently taking. The counseling sessions take about 30 minutes.
“It’s worth the time,” Roberts said.