Prescription coverage changing for seniors | SierraSun.com

Prescription coverage changing for seniors

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunHerb Whitaker speaks to seniors at the Truckee Senior Center on Wednesday.

Complicated changes are coming for seniors with Medicare.

To help clear up some of the confusion with new prescription drug coverage, the Truckee Tahoe Seniors Council hosted Senior Law Day. At the event, representatives from Legal Services of Northern California, a nonprofit that offers free legal advice to people over the age of 60, also addressed matters such as age discrimination and housing.

Many people with low incomes will get extra help with their Medicare drug benefit and those with slightly higher incomes will have a reduced deductible, according to a report by the AARP.

“My biggest concern is that we are going to have to pay for our prescriptions, because Medicare only pays 80 percent, and I have never had to do that,” said Truckee resident Lucy Greene.

The new low income deductibles for those who qualify could be as low as $1 to $3 with no deductible and no premiums, and many seniors will benefit, said Sarah Deardorff of Truckee Tahoe Seniors Council. But guidelines and numbers will continue to fluctuate until October, so seniors should be aware.

“The new program is going to change how seniors deal with their Medicare plans,” said Herb Whitaker, a managing attorney with Legal Services of Northern California. “This is going to be a complicated change and [seniors] are going to have to get involved in making decisions about health care,” Whitaker said.

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To make matters easier, the California Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program will be at the Truckee Senior Center on Sept. 14 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. to talk more about Medicare and assist with paperwork.