NEW ORLEANS - If you have Medicare, you could be eligible for free doctor visits and exams, as well as prescription medications.
Dione Herbert of the New Orleans Council on Aging stood in front of a group of senior citizens at a gathering in the central city neighborhood of New Orleans. She explained some of the benefits of a program that could help them with medical bills.
"Mammograms, colonoscopies, all of these things are free, no out-of-pocket expenses, and remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," she told the audience of about 50 people.
Some of these senior citizens may qualify for programs that help with medical and prescription drugs costs, but don't know it. So The New Orleans Council on Aging is trying to get the word out.
"The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called CMS, has discovered that there are actually thousands and thousands of people across the U.S., but in particular in Louisiana, we have a few thousand who appear to be eligible and are not receiving the service," said Herbert.
The two programs are for people on Medicare, those 65 and older or those who are disabled and 21 or older. Seniors who qualify by age and income, could get the cost of Medicare Part B for treatment, reimbursed each month, or qualify for no out-of-pocket costs on prescriptions in Medicare Part D. Some people could even qualify for both.
The programs help this woman go to regular doctor visits.
"Oh, it help me a lot," said Elizabeth Variste, 79.
Another senior filled out her application today.
"It will help me financially a lot," said Almenia Alexis.
Here in Orleans Parish there seem to be a lot of people who already know about this program and are signing up but there have been problems reaching people in St. Bernard, Plaquemines, St. Tammany and the other outlying parishes to get the message out that this program is available to them.
To qualify, you must put in an application.
If you live in Louisiana and have Medicare and want to see if you qualify call 504-827-7843.
Click here for more eligibility details: http://www.ldi.la.gov/Health/SHIIP/