As the May 15 deadline approaches, one-third of California senior citizens still have not signed up for the Medicare prescription drug benefits plan. Some 150 local seniors attended a workshop hosted by Congresswoman Lois Capps and Assemblymember Pedro Nava in Goleta last Saturday. Computer assistants and volunteers from the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) were on hand to help people choose among the 48 plans and their movable parts; they also offered advice on possible drug substitutions, side effects, and interactions. Lois Capps’s spokesperson noted that the congresswoman and her mother – a professional woman in possession of a PhD and all her marbles – recently spent several hours trying to figure out which plan would work best. HICAP is available to offer further assistance at (800) 434-0222.

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