The major source of information about Part D, Medicare's new drug program, is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which urges beneficiaries and people assisting them to either call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit the Web site

At, the National Council on the Aging offers an online questionnaire for people considering whether to enroll in one of the drug plans.

A 10-minute demonstration of Medicare's online tool for helping people find a drug plan is available at A transcript of an online chat yesterday with CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan is posted at

For District residents, assistance is available from the Health Insurance Counseling Project at George Washington University's National Law Center, 202-739-0668.

Maryland residents may call the state's Department of Aging at 800-243-3425 or 410-767-1100. Local offices include Montgomery (240-777-1131), Prince George's (301-265-8450), Frederick (301-694-1605), Howard (410-313-6410), Anne Arundel (410-222-4464), Charles (301-934-0109), St. Mary's (301-475-4200, extension 1050) and Calvert (410-535-4606 or 301-855-1170).

Virginia residents may contact the state's Department for the Aging at or 800-552-3402. Local offices include Alexandria (703-838-0920), Arlington (703-228-1700), Fairfax (703-324-5411 or 866-503-0217), Loudoun (703-777-0257), Prince William (703-792-6400), Stafford/Spotsylvania (800-262-4012 or 540-371-3375) and Fauquier (540-825-3100).

Other sources of information about the drug program include:

* Medicare Rights Center: (Robert Hayes, president of the center, will be online today at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the drug program. To participate in that dialogue or to read a transcript, go to )

* Center for Medicare Advocacy: Details about specific plans can also be obtained from private insurers.