Everyone enrolled in Medicare Part D? To those who are - great! To those who are not, you still have until May 15 if you choose to enroll. We have a few cartoons related to Medicare Part D around the office, and I'm sure a lot of you have seen many in magazines, newspapers, on the net, wherever. They all seem to follow the same theme: "It's an ultra-confusing, complex mess that no one can figure out." The implication is that you shouldn't even try because no one has it down. Well ...

Early on, as we were being trained in Part D - and struggling to keep others informed - it was a bit confusing, primarily because it wasn't set yet. Too many variables, projections and "We think it'll look like this" type information was flowing around us as we waded through the stream of information. That was then.

Despite what the cartoons say (and I admit some of my philosophical statements can be attributed Daffy Duck), Part D is not undecipherable. Since it deals with changing costs of medications and situations unique to each individual on Medicare, not every part fits every person; and we may never know all the ins and outs that occur when pharmaceutical companies and legislation link hands to present ... well, anything. However...

As tangled as it may appear at first glance, in my opinion we have added to the general sense of complexity simply by repeating the mantra "Nobody can understand this" whenever the topic arises. It is not that difficult to navigate at the entry/application/enrollment level. Due to the number of folks concerned, and a limited open enrollment period, it can be time-consuming to get the results needed to make an informed decision - particularly if you require assistance from agencies (like ours) who are striving to help as many folks as possible.

In conversations with Social Security offices, CSO's, pharmacies and others, there are more than enough folks needing assistance to keep us very busy. And that's good. It's what we do.

In our agency, we are currently looking at a possible 3- to 4-day turnaround from the point of receiving the needed information from an individual, to getting the Medicare Part D results to them. At that point, it's their (your) call. You pick the insurance company and give them a call. And it's done. Give us a call. You see, the complexity is really behind the scenes - it's in the machinery that makes Part D work. The process can be pretty straightforward.

And though we receive tons of applications and contacts weekly, there are also a lot of folks out there that access the Medicare Web site and find their own options, have already enrolled and/or simply see Part D as just another new thing to deal with.

We all approach new information differently - carrying along with us our experiences, tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. Who we are pretty much rides along with what we do. But ... we do it. Medicare Part D is no different.

We'll all get by with a little help from our friends.

Senior Information & AssistanceLong Beach: 642-3634 or (888) 571-6558

Raymond: 942-2177 or (888) 571-6557

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