Medicare annual enrollment starts soonThe Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins Monday runs through Dec. 7. This is the time each year that people on Medicare can join, switch or leave a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) or an Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C).
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins Monday runs through Dec. 7.
This is the time each year that people on Medicare can join, switch or leave a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) or an Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C).
Things to consider when choosing a prescription drug plan include the overall cost of the plan, the list of drugs covered); restrictions and the pharmacy network.
All of these things can change every year so it’s important to read the Annual Notice of Change that plans mail to members at this time of the year. It explains what changes are in store for the next plan year. In addition, plans may also offer varying degrees of coverage in the coverage gap — the so-called donut hole — which is gradually getting smaller each year and will eventually disappear as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Also at this time of year, Medicare sends beneficiaries the handbook “Medicare & You” for the coming year. This publication is also available at www.medicare.gov.
This website has much information for Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, the best way to compare Medicare Health and Drug plans is to use the site’s planfinder. Beneficiaries can also call 1-800-medicare and get help selecting a plan from one of the Medicare customer service representatives.
But there is also a local option. People age 60 and older can call Senior Connections’ Elder Benefit Specialist, Pat Nelson.
She is a State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor and helps beneficiaries compare plans. Her office is located in the Aging and Disability Resource Center, 1316 N. 14th St., but she also takes appointments at Senior Connections, 1805 N. 16th St.
There are also programs that can help with Medicare costs. The Low-Income Subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs can provide varying levels of assistance depending on the beneficiary’s income. There are still many Douglas County residents who may qualify for these programs but not even know it. Individuals with gross monthly income less than $1396, and couples with less than $1891 could be eligible for extra help. Certain asset limits apply.
For more information about the Annual Enrollment Period, the Low-Income Subsidy and the Medicare Savings Programs, or to make an appointment with Nelson, call 715-395-7533 or 715-394-3611.