Medicare enrollment starts Monday

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SHERMAN, TX - Health care and Medicare costs are always on the minds of many senior citizens, and one Texoma agency is doing its best to help people sort through the sometimes complicated and expensive maze of Medicare.

Doctor's visits, hospital stays and prescription medicines are all rising in cost to the point that many senior citizens won't take care of their health just to save money. And with Medicare enrollment coming up, the Texoma Council of Governments wants senior citizens to know they're here to help.

Sherrian Lentz lives on a fixed income and said her Medicare is the only way she can afford health care, but even that isn't enough.

"You don't go to the doctor when you really ought to because of the money. The prescriptions are so high," Lentz said.

Sherrian said she only goes to the doctor or hospital if it's an emergency. She's even putting off an ear surgery because of the bills she knows she can't pay. She said most of her friends are the same way.

"Oh yeah, they don't go unless it's an emergency and they're bleeding," she said.

It's not just hospitals or surgery. The price of prescription drugs also plagues many people on Medicare.

"They say 'I'm sorry, I can't afford that, I have to make a choice between my medicines or eating'," said TCOG benefits counselor Rick Dickson.

So what can people like Sherrian do? Dickson said that's what he's here for.

"If we don't help these people, sometimes they don't get help," said Dickson.

Dickson helped 212 people last year find and set up a Medicare plan that fit within their fixed income budget. They can assist seniors with prescription drug costs, supplements and other insurance issues.

"It is so very important for people to come in and make sure that the plan they have is still the best one, cost-wise and coverage-wise for them," said Dickson.

Dickson said TCOG is filling up fast with appointments, so it's important to call and make an appointment to meet with a counselor. Appointments start November 15 and end December 31. Just call 211 to set up an appointment in Grayson, Cooke, or Fannin Counties.

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