Medicare Changes

As part of a new law out of Congress, starting next month Medicare recipients can begin signing up for prescription drug insurance that's being offered by drug companies.

Jim Nettles with the Public Employee Retirement System of Mississippi says most retirees have already received a booklet on the matter.

"Beginning on page 97 in the booklet there's a list of all the companies that have been approved by Medicare to provide those benefits in Mississippi."

Nettles goes on to say that this plan will have special significance for some groups.

"For instance, those employees for the state of Mississippi, the Institutions of Higher Learning, the community colleges, the libraries, anyone on that state plan. Affective January 1st, if you are Medicare eligible you will no longer have drug benefits, so it's important that you pay attention to this."

Starting on page 97 in the booklet, there's a listing of toll free numbers for each company providing the coverage. Medicare recipients are advised to call these numbers and request that each company send him a copy of its coverage policy, plus a listing of drugs which its policy covers.

The date to begin signing up for the plans is November 15. The deadline is May 15 of next year. Those who miss the deadline will have to pay a higher premium.

As for any Medicare recipient from anywhere in the nation who has more questions about the new policy, you can contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

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