Medicare Part D open enrollment in progress

It’s now time for those using Medicare to review their prescription drug plan for next year. Medicare open enrollment for prescription drug coverage runs until Dec. 31. Medicare Part D is just for prescription drugs. Coverage starts Jan. 1, said Deborah Crowther with the Bear River Association of Governments”Check your medications, checks your plans. The sooner the better,” Crowther said.Medicare users can make appointments with senior health insurance information counselors by calling any of the three senior centers in the area. When meeting with a counselor, seniors are encouraged to bring Medicare cards and all prescriptions they take. Actually bringing in the prescription bottles will help, because specific information – such as doses – is necessary to choose the right plan. Seniors can review the plans and create next year’s plan on their own at www.medicare.gov. When using the website, seniors will need the number on their Medicare card as well as the date they became eligible for Medicare coverage. The website will ask for the names and doses for medication the senior is taking. Then, the website will suggest three top recommendations, and allow the user to compare these plans side by side. This website also has a lot of valuable information, Crowther said.Extra help is available to those who need it. The application for low-income subsidy can be found at ssa.gov, with a link on the left hand side of the web page. Those without health insurance or Medicare coverage can go to www.needymeds.org and apply to receive medications. The “donut hole” in Medicare is a gap in coverage. This year, in an effort to close the donut hole, when seniors reach that gap in coverage, they will be sent a $250 rebate in the mail, which should arrive in two to three months of reaching the gap. The ultimate goal, Crowther said, is to close the coverage gap by 2020. Medicare users should be aware of fraud and be cautious with their information, Crowther said. Medicare will not call and ask for a Medicare number over the phone, and users should be wary of anyone claiming to work for Medicare who is asking for their number.Those with questions or who need help with their Medicare plan can contact either the BRAG offices at 752-7242 or by contacting local senior centers.- rachel@cvdaily.com

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