Medicare drug advice is available
I am very confused about the new prescription drug plans. Is there any way where I can see what all the drug plans are so that I can compare them?
Answer: It is confusing, but there are different sources and resources to help guide you in picking a Medicare prescription drug plan.
First, for seniors with access to the computer, everything is laid out on the Medicare Web site at www.medicare.gov.
The "Medicare & You 2006" handbook is supposed to be mailed to Medicare recipients this month, which will provide information about the plans available in Hawaii.
Or you can call 800-633-4227 (TTY, 877-486-2048).
If you want help in choosing a plan, call the Oahu office of Sage PLUS at 586-7299 (or 888-875-9229, the national toll-free number). Trained volunteers provide information on health insurance for people 60 years or older.
You can also check with your insurance provider for information. HMSA, for example, is holding a series of meetings statewide explaining the options. The next ones on Oahu are on Saturday and Wednesday. Call 948-5555 for reservations or 948-6000 for information.
People with Medicare can pick a plan beginning Nov. 15 and have until May 15 to do so. Drug coverage can begin as early as Jan. 1.
Eligible recipients who don't choose a plan by the May 15 deadline will pay a penalty: 1 percent more per month for their premium.
Q: This summer, the city cut down a large monkeypod tree in Sheridan Community Park along Piikoi Street. I was wondering if there are any plans to replant another monkeypod tree to help provide shade in some of the playground area. It would seem that a tree could be available from the ones being taken out in Waikiki.
A: The Division of Urban Forestry will replace the tree with another monkeypod in almost the same location, as part of the city's annual Arbor Day celebration on Nov. 4, according to the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
Q: There is a manhole at the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Keaahala Road in Kaneohe, in the Kailua-bound lane, that is a hazard because the area around the manhole was not properly filled and leveled following repairs. To make a long story short, I called the city's pothole division in May and was told the manhole belonged to Hawaiian Telcom and that it was responsible for repairing the depression. I called two more times, most recently in September, and still nothing has been done. Is it true that the city cannot force Hawaiian Telcom to take responsibility for their work?
A: We passed your complaint on to the city Department of Facility Maintenance earlier this month. We were told Hawaiian Telcom was contacted on Oct. 10 and informed about the road hazard.
Two days later we were told a contractor was repairing the area and that the repairs were to be completed that day.
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Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org