But many seniors are forced to stick to one plan. But one local pharmacy is helping some seniors connect the dots. This 79-year-old grandmother drives from Roscoe to Machesney Park several times a month just to visit the North Park Pharmacy. Elaine Zander Gilbert says she travels the 10 miles because North Park pharmacists have made the transition from state prescription coverage to Medicare a smooth one.
North Park Customer Elain Zander Gilbert says, “This day and age if you get someone who really knows you it helps."
North Park is only pharmacy in the Rockford-area to assist seniors during the transition phase. Seniors move from prescription drug coverage from the Illinois Department of Human Services to Medicare Plan D. Pharmacists say they have a contract with UNI-CARE which provides a temporary plan “D” for its customers.
North Park Pharmacist Sheila Kitzman states, “People in that need that are unfortunately stuck in the bureaucracy of the government, the State of Illinois and the Federal Government just left them hanging. I’m glad we've been able to come from behind and help them." Kitzman says the gap usually lasts about a month but it can cause a financial burden on those without supplemental coverage. She goes on to say, “They're desperate when they call me and I'm like I can help and it makes them feel good it makes me feel good too."
North Park pharmacy upgraded their computer software about a year ago so when the Medicare D plan kicks in any information carries over and they don't have to start from scratch. North Park pharmacy says they have about 20 customers who fall into this gap. While several are new to North Park, pharmacists expect those customers to return to their original pharmacy once their plan begins.