Pine Bluff Jefferson County Economic Opportunities Commission (PBJCEOC) just recently received a Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) grant award but time to use the grant is going quickly.

Pine Bluff Jefferson County Economic Opportunities Commission (PBJCEOC) just recently received a Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) grant award but time to use the grant is going quickly.

The purpose of MIPPA funding is to assist likely eligible Medicare beneficiaries in applying for subsidy programs to help with the costs of Medicare and Medicare Part D deductibles, premiums and co-payments.

“Over a thousand people qualify for this help and have yet to apply for it,” said David Knight, executive director of PBJCEOC. “Our fear is that people still do not know of this program and that they qualify,” he continued.

Knight instructs anyone having deductions from their social security for medical expenses to call PBJCEOC’s toll free number at 800-277-1313 or visit their local office:

In Jefferson County, applications are accepted at the PBJCEOC Pine Bluff Office, 817 S. Cherry St.

In Grant County, applications are accepted at the PBJCEOC Sheridan Office, 815 E. Center.

In Cleveland County, applications are accepted at the PBJCEOC Rison Office, 203 Main St.

In Lincoln County, applications are accepted at the PBJCEOC Star City Office, 107 South Dre.

In Arkansas County, applications are accepted at the PBJCEOC Stuttgart Office, 425 S. Main St.

“With SHIIP, there’s help so families struggling to make ends meet do not have to continue to burden all the cost of Medicare, which can be a huge health and safety concern” Knight said. “When it comes to deciding on food or covering Medical expenses, too often we see patients skip out on vital health care.”

Knight explained how excited he was for PBJCEOC to offer such a great opportunity for the community members but scared that too many qualified people are going to let it slip by. Arkansas Insurance Department’s SHIIP reports there are over 1,100 people in the area that still qualify for more assistance.

“We hope to reach as many as possible, which could make a huge difference for our communities,” Knight said. “The less we see drawn out of citizens’ pockets; the more they can spend locally, but people need to come by now.”

PBJCEOC offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PBJCEOC serves the counties of Jefferson, Grant, Cleveland, Arkansas and Cleveland. PBJCEOC is a private, non-profit organization which operates an extensive range of social programs and services targeting low-income households. PBJCEOC works in conjunction with other agencies and organizations to provide community development and assistance to low-income families and individuals within the community.