Seminars offer health care plan help

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brookhaven’s older community had two chances to become moreinformed and ask questions about Medicare, Social Security,Medicaid and other health-related issues on Monday.

Mississippi Shine, an organization committed to providingmedication to those with no insurance or lack of prescriptioncoverage through patient assistance programs, held the openmeetings at the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizen Center Monday morningand at the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library lastnight.

The organization had representatives from Social SecurityAdministration, Southwest Mississippi Planning and DevelopmentDistrict, Inc. (SWMPDD), and Information and Quality Healthcare(IQH) field questions from audience members who have been feelingoverwhelmed during Medicare open enrollment. Most questions andinformation were centered on tips and questions about how to choosean appropriate Medicare plan and how to choose a fittingsupplement.

Michell Singleton, program coordinator for SWMPDD, said the bestadvice for those seeking medical coverage is to be proactive. Sheencouraged the audience to read as much information as they couldon available plans and to seek out additional resources.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” said Singleton. “We try to beyour flashlight.”

Seniors will have from now until Dec. 31 to choose a Medicarepackage that best fits their needs and to select a prescriptiondrug plan.

“This is the time to pick your plan and get in it,” saidSingleton.

Singleton added that open enrollment will move to Oct. 15 toDec. 7 next year to allow time for medical plans to be availablefor the new year.

In addition to discussing medical coverage, audience memberswere informed about a free diabetes education program, which isheld at the public library and the senior citizen center.

“Use this service,” said Peggy Brumfield, Mississippi Shinerepresentative. “Diabetes is one of the highest chronic diseases inMississippi.”

Rachelle Hackney, regional project leader for IQH, said Medicarepays for the program, and classes consist of learning what thedisease is, treatment, risk factors, management and nutrition.

“There are a lot of things you can do now to prevent diabetes orpush it off to later on in life,” said Hackney.

Brumfield added that seminars like the ones held Monday not onlyhelp inform seniors of medical coverage available to them, but alsohelp improve their general knowledge when dealing with health careproviders.

“They buy coverage from someone and they think they havesomething, but they don’t have what they need,” said Brumfield.”Old people are being taken advantage of.”