(Editors: This is the third in a series of releases about Older Americans that will be sent during May. Today’s release features older Kentuckians, Kentucky’s SHIP Program, and prescription drug discount cards.)
FRANKFORT, KY. (May 19, 2004) – Governor Ernie Fletcher has declared May Older Americans month in Kentucky and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Office of Aging Services wants seniors to know about programs that can help them.
For example, the Office of Aging Services administers the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which is designed to assist seniors and disabled Kentuckians with Medicare and other issues concerning their health insurance options. Free, unbiased information and assistance on health matters is available through the efforts of local volunteers throughout Kentucky.
Knowledgeable counselors are available at the statewide SHIP toll-free number, 1-877-293-7447, within Kentucky for direct assistance or connection to local SHIP counselors. SHIP also works in partnership with the Kentucky Medicare Partners to provide outreach and education to Medicare beneficiaries, their family members, and caregivers.
Although SHIP has always been a very valuable part of the Medicare community, the program has grown tremendously with recent developments such as the new Medicare approved prescription drug card enrollment. Enrollment began the first of May and the cards become effective June 1.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released information about drug discount card sponsors that shows Kentucky currently has 41 approved discount cards. Each card offers a discount of 10-25 percent on the retail price of prescription drugs.
Since each card applies to different drugs, it is important for a consumer to compare the prescriptions they take with each discount cards’ covered prescriptions list. This can be an overwhelming task, but help is available through SHIP at 1-877-293-7447.
“SHIP has more than 200 trained counselors in nearly every county in Kentucky who are ready to help Medicare beneficiaries compare their drug costs,” said Jerry Whitley, executive director, Office of Aging Services. “Our counselors are one of the most effective resources available to help Kentucky seniors learn about the changes in prescription coverage.”
In Kentucky, the Office of Aging Services, through the Area Agencies on Aging, administers the SHIP program and is excited to help with this year’s Older American’s Month activities. “The Aging Well, Living Well theme fits nicely with the goal of the new discount cards. Financial assistance for the purchase of prescription drugs will help Kentucky’s seniors fulfill this theme through improved access and affordability,” said Whitley.
For more information about changes to Medicare or to find the number of a local counselor, call the Kentucky toll-free SHIP line at 1-877-293-7447.