Senior PharmAssist mentioned in USA Today – today

Senior PharmAssist Executive Director Gina Upchurch is quoted in an excellent article today in USA Today. The piece, written by Susan Jaffe of Kaiser Health News, offers a timely primer for Medicare beneficiaries, as the annual open enrollment period (OEP) has just begun. OEP continues through Dec. 7 and is the only time of year that most Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their health and drug coverage. If you live in Durham and feel like you need help with making Medicare decisions for 2018, don’t delay. Call Senior PharmAssist at (919) 688-4772 immediately, as slots fill up quickly!

Pharmacists and pharmacy techs: Get ready for Medicare in 2018

Senior PharmAssist Executive Director Gina Upchurch will lead a continuing education session — Medicare 2018: The Policies, Politics & Practical Part D Pearls — on Oct. 24, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m. This presentation is hosted by the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and is geared to pharmacists and pharmacy techs. The program, which costs $30, is worth 2.0 credit hours and can be attended live or online. Several topics will be covered, including:

  • Comparing traditional Medicare with Medicare Advantage plans
  • Outlining the Medicare Part D 2018 medication benefits and demonstrating how to use the CMS plan finder tool to sort plans
  • Local, statewide and federal resources that can help with Medicare Part D, including the Senior’s Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
  • The real and possible impact of health reform on Medicare and pharmacy

Registration is open now and closes Oct. 24.

Senior PharmAssist is hiring!

Our program is looking to fill two new part-time positions—clinical pharmacist and program associate. Apply through No emails or phone calls please.

Senate Appropriations Committee recommends defunding State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP) – time to speak out!

Medicare beneficiaries across the nation, including younger, disabled individuals, depend on SHIP for objective guidance regarding Medicare insurance decisions. Medicare is incredibly complex with myriad options; rules about when one can/can’t enroll; ever-changing drug coverage and provider networks; and precious few user-friendly information sources. SHIP makes a huge difference.

In North Carolina, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) serves the state’s 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries. Senior PharmAssist is SHIIP coordinating site for Durham County, and during Medicare’s open enrollment period (OEP) for 2017, 54% of the individuals we saw with a Part D drug plan needed to switch plans for better coverage. We saved “switchers” an average of $935 on their projected medications expenses for this year. Our program is unique as a SHIIP site because we have pharmacists trained in geriatrics who also review drug regimens; during OEP, our pharmacists made 286 interventions regarding medication concerns or cost savings. We also made 79 referrals to other resources such as Duke Hardship applications and MQB to pay Medicare Part B premiums.

According to NC SHIIP, the program’s activities in 2016:

  • Helped North Carolina Medicare beneficiaries save $44.3 million.
  • Counseled more than 105,000 Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Served almost 21,000 Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities.
  • Counseled more than 29,000 beneficiaries with incomes below 150% of federal poverty level.

We encourage you to heed NC SHIIP’s call to action and contact your congressman. Click here to identify your representative and then proceed to their page to voice your concerns. Don’t let Congress dessert the SHIP!