Brabu Pharmacy and Wellness Center will soon open its enrollment for additional Medicare coverage and is encouraging the CNMI's elderly to avail of this additional benefit.
In a statement, Brabu co-owner and manager Ted Parker is inviting eligible individuals to take advantage of the open enrollment for Medicare Part D beginning Oct. 15.
Medicare Part D is a federal program to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. It was enacted as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and went into effect in Jan. 1, 2006.
Individuals are eligible for prescription drug coverage under Part D plan if they are entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A, which covers hospitalization, and Part B, which covers physician's visit.
Interested senior citizens can enroll into the Part A and B programs at the local Social Security office located on the second floor of the Mariana Heights building in Puerto Rico.
Last year, Brabu assisted nearly 130 elderly during the open enrollment for the same benefit.
“Many man'amko are feeling the pressure of a tight economy, but there is good news-open enrollment for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage begins on Oct. 15. We once again invite eligible people to stop by Brabu to learn more about the program, or if you already have a red, white, and blue Medicare Part A card, spend a few minutes with us to enroll in the Part D plan,” said Parker.
“The Part D plan only covers prescription drugs with the co-pay dependent upon the type of medication being prescribed. Medicare Part D breaks prescription drugs into four tiers. Last year's co-pays were $6, $10, and $45 for tiers 1 through 3, with tier 4 being a percentage of the total drug cost. Patients with valid Medicaid coverage on top of their Medicare Part D would pay even less,” explained Parker.
Once successfully enrolled, Part D coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2013, while for those turning 65 years old, coverage will begin on their birth date.
According to Parker, the premium for most applicants will be less than last year's $17.10. Those individuals that did not enroll when they became eligible at the age of 65, or when they enrolled in the Medicare part A plan, may have to pay a “late” penalty fee. The fee is compounded monthly unless the enrollee can prove that they had other “creditable” insurance coverage.
“Last year we helped those individuals successfully waive the late penalty fee by faxing in the required certification forms proving that they had other insurance coverage. It takes a bit more effort, but it is well worth the time. We want to assist as many people as possible. We were really concerned about the number of people who had so much trouble trying to enroll on their own that they simply gave up. We don't want to see this happen again to anyone,” said Brabu co-owner Kathy Yuknavage.
Elderly wishing to enroll in AARP Medicare Part D plan are invited to visit Brabu Pharmacy and Wellness Center on Tuesdays or Thursdays, starting Oct. 16. The enrollment process is free and takes only a few minutes. Brabu also invites students to volunteer their time to help enroll individuals into the program.
For more information, visit Brabu Pharmacy on Middle Road in Gualo Rai or call 233-AMOT (2668).