October 14, 2005 – Posted at 5:10 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- The American population is living longer than ever before and the healthcare needs of seniors are ever changing.
Senator Blanch Lincoln held several forums across Region 8 Friday. She was here to help Arkansans learn how to sign up for the new prescription drug benefits, which have been added to Medicare.
Lincoln was joined by representatives from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration to explain the prescription drug plan benefits.
“We want to make sure people understand what their choices are, what the deadlines are. Those that will transition into things pretty seamlessly, they still have choices,” said Senator Lincoln.
It's a complicated issue, but Lincoln believes by educating seniors and the disabled, making decisions should be easier.
“We want to make sure that seniors across our great state of Arkansas have access to the prescription drugs that they need, and we want to do it in a cost effective way,” said Senator Lincoln.
And in Friday's forum, it was a chance to learn.
“I'm 91-years-old and I need all the help I can get on prescription drugs,” said Billie VanHorn of Jonesboro.
“We don't feel that it's going to be as good as what we already have,” said Paragould resident Jean Crossmo.
“I learned that if you already have a plan you should keep it,” said Eileen Cobb of Fort Smith.
“It's very important that we know what is going on so that we can get the plan that we need and make the decision because if we don't make a decision by May of next year, we may very well be penalized,” said Loretta Echols of Jonesboro.