Union County has voted to partner with Three Rivers Planning & Development District in a program offering free assistance with Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan counseling during the open enrollment period from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Free assistance will be available from the county to help those with Medicare determine the best prescription drug plan. 

This assistance is a partnership between the Union County Board of Supervisors and Three Rivers’ State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). 

During open enrollment, any person with a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan may search for and enroll in the best and most economical drug plan to begin on Jan. 1. Also, if a Medicare beneficiary does not have a Part D drug plan, the beneficiary may enroll in a drug plan during open enrollment where the plan will start Jan. 1. The only time this plan can be changed is during the open enrollment period – Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. 

Three Rivers PDD Executive Director Randy Kelley explained that this program has always been available through the county’s partnership with Three Rivers, but there has been only one person available to help for eight Three Rivers counties. Now, they will have someone on the ground in Union County who has the ability to locate in different offices throughout the county so that our Medicare recipients can have face-to-face service with as little travel to them as possible. 

The objective is to help our Medicare recipients save money and acquire the most effective program for their needs over the next year with the best Medicare Part D plan, he said. 

“It is important that each Medicare recipient have an annual review because every year drug plan premiums and drug co-pay costs will change. And individual’s drug list may also change. Having trained assistance who can help compare plans will be a great help to our citizens.” 

Kelley said, “It is the unanimous vote of the board members of Three Rivers that allows our counties to partner with us to have this Medicare Part D assistance available to the citizens of North Mississippi. They want trained personnel in their counties to help their citizens through the sometimes confusing process of choosing the best prescription drug plan.” 

Three Rivers has served 1,206 people in the past four years and saved an average of $1,178 per person for a total savings of $1.42 million. 

The location for the local office will be announced closer to the enrollment period when the public is reminded of this opportunity, which could save each person $100 per month.

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