JABA Gears Up to Help Seniors with Medicare Part D Open Enrollment

JABA is preparing for Medicare Part D open enrollment by nearly doubling its number of volunteer counselors and opening a counseling center in downtown Charlottesville.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Fresh off saving central Virginians $1.2 million last year during Medicare Part D open enrollment, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) is expanding its counseling services to nearly double the number of people served this year.

“Last year we were able to save people over $1.2 million by helping them choose the right plan,” said Marta Keane, the CEO of JABA.

JABA is gearing up for open enrollment - which begins in October - by nearly doubling its number of volunteer counselors and opening a brand new counseling center in downtown Charlottesville. It’s all in hopes of helping even more seniors on Medicare sign up for the plans that suit them best.

“If you’re on Medicare, you may not know it, but you need to come see us,” stated Randy Rodgers, a JABA community service manager.

Each year people's prescription needs change, as do the Medicare plan offerings. “We get calls all the time, January, February, where people suddenly realize at their pharmacy that the prescription that they've been taking for years on the plan, that they’ve been having for years, are not covered in this year’s version of that plan,” Rodgers explained

If you don't re-evaluate your plan during open enrollment from October 15 to December 7, you could be stuck between a rock and a hard place. “We know for many people that’s the choice of buying their prescriptions or not, or buying food or not,” said Keane.

Last year at its main location in Albemarle County and through mobile counseling units in Greene, Louisa, Nelson, and Fluvanna counties, JABA helped 2,200 people adjust their plans.

This year close to 100 volunteer counselors hope to help an additional 1,700 in a brand new location on Allied Street in Charlottesville.

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David McNair