Rush for Some to Sign Up for Drug Benefit

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Linda Palmer visited the Tri-County Office on Aging Wednesday to get help in choosing a Medicare prescription drug coverage plan. She wants to get coverage right away so is hoping to sign-up now and have the benefits kick in January 1.

Hundreds of others have rushed to choose a plan this week, but Lisa Trumbell of the Michigan Medicaid/Medicare Assistance Program said there's no cause for alarm for everyone. People who already have coverage through another plan have until May 15, 2006 to sign up for a plan if they choose.

But for low-income people, choosing a plan to kick in in the new year will save them money. Trumbell said although the process is still confusing, a lot of the bugs have been worked out and 21 million Americans have already signed up.

Pharmacists said they'll be expecting some more problems to surface though they can't check to see if the system is working until its launch date on January 1, 2006.

For information on how to get help understanding the plans, call 1-800-803-7174. You will be directed to a local office that can help you.