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Medicare Part D deadline nearing

LAWRENCEVILLE - May 15 is the last day to enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan without incurring additional fees that could cost a substantial amount over a beneficiary's lifetime.

If seniors decide after May 15 they want to enroll, they have to wait until the next open enrollment, which is Nov. 15 through Dec. 31. Those dates will be the standard open enrollment period from then on.

Seniors will face a penalty of 1 percent a month for each month they did not enroll but were eligible. For instance, if a senior waited seven months to enroll in the part D plan they would pay a 7 percent penalty based on the national average of plans, which is $32.

There are 42 stand-alone prescription drug plans for Georgia residents. Plans can vary based on co-pay premiums, deductibles, a mail-order option and the medicines covered. GeorgiaCares program consultant, Kirsten Barge, suggests seniors should make a list of the medications they take and make sure the list of medications is included in the plan.

For seniors who aren't comfortable enrolling alone or want to discuss plan options, they can do so with volunteers with GeorgiaCares, part of the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services. The program is designed to educate and help seniors and has over 400 trained volunteers to assist people in the enrolling process. They can be reached at 1-800-669-8387.

Gwinnett leaders have partnered together with the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services to provide this credible information piece to help with the Medicare Prescription drug plan process.

Enrollment Help

•Monday

Information session/enrollment assistance will take place at the Norcross Human Services Center, 5030 Georgia Belle Court, from 2 to 4 p.m. No registration is required. Call 770-638-5661 for more information.

•April 29

Representatives from My Medicare Matters will host an information session at Duluth First United Methodist Church, 3208 Ga. Highway 120, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 678-442-5000 to register for a conference.

•May 3

One-on-one enrollment assistance will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Centerville Community Center, 3025 Bethany Church Road in Snellville. Call 770-985-4713 to pre-register.