APPRISE extends call hours

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s APPRISE Medicare counseling helpline will extend its hours of operation until midnight on Monday for callers seeking information about the new Medicare prescription benefit.
 
May 15 is the last date to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan offering coverage for 2006. Although participation is voluntary, some people who choose to enroll later will have to pay a penalty, according to Medicare. The next enrollment period begins Nov. 15.
 
“Our experienced APPRISE counselors can provide clear and personalized advice about whether enrolling in a Medicare Part D prescription plan is the right step for you,” Secretary of Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower said. “With the midnight deadline looming, it is important to understand whether or not you should enroll in a plan. Our counselors can provide the information you need to make the right choice.”
 
APPRISE has conducted nearly 3,200 Medicare prescription drug program enrollment and information sessions, providing assistance to more than 135,000 consumers. In addition, the APPRISE toll-free helpline has received more than 85,000 calls since October 2005, including 40,000 calls received since the new Medicare benefit began Jan. 1. To contact APPRISE, call 1-800-783-7067.
 
Consumers with questions about the new prescription benefit also may contact Medicare at 1-800-Medicare or visit the Medicare Web site at www.medicare.gov.
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