Medicare Part D Enrollment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Medicare Part D Enrollment

KENNEWICK, Wash. - It's time again people on Medicare can register for Medicare Part D, which covers the cost for prescription drugs. But figuring out which plan is best for you can be quite confusing.

When you're talking about health coverage, it seems like there's never a simple solution. The government will cover most of the cost for your prescriptions, but you've got to figure out which plan you want and you don't have a lot of time to do it.

For a lot of senior citizens, taking your prescriptions is an everyday part of life. Last year the government rolled out Medicare Part D to help pay for your pills. If you haven't enrolled yet you can sign up November 15th through December 31st, or if you're already signed up you can change your plan.

There's a lot of options to choose from, but Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) said it's worth your time.

"Some people pay out of pocket directly for prescription drugs. Medicare never covered it in the past and, and if they don't have any other coverage, they've been paying out of pocket, so this may be a better deal for them.," said Tobi Johnson, SHIBA Hotline Program Manager.   

To help you figure out which plan fits and saves you money, SHIBA has set up a hotline and a website. But if that still has your scratching your head, you can visit several help sites in Pasco, Richland, Kennewick and West Richland.

Trained volunteers will walk you through enrollment. Some like the help for obvious reasons.

"It's free," said Jim Lande, Kennewick Resident.

"Do you think it helps?" we asked. 

"You bet. Especially when your retired," said Lande. 

If you come bring your Medicare card, a list of your prescriptions, any new medicare mail, and your existing policy.

But staff recommend do it sooner than later so you don't lapse your coverage.

"If they can get their appointments and get signed up before December 8th, then they can be sure their plan will start January 1st," said Gina Flowers, SHIBA Volunteer.


Medicare Part D Help Hotline        1-800-562-6900

Medicare Part D Website              (see "Medicare Part D Enroll" under ON AIR LINKS)

Tri-Cities Medicare Part D Help Sites

Benton Franklin Volunteer Center

317 W. Kennewick Ave.    Kennewick   582-0631

Kennewick Senior Center

500 S. Auburn                  Kennewick    585-4303

Richland Community Center

500 Amon Drive               Richland        942-7529

West Richland Senior Center

616 N. 60th Ave.            W. Richland    967-2847

Pasco Senior Center

1315 N. 7th Ave.              Pasco           545-3459