August 25, 2008
Getting Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment
November 15 – December 31
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D Plans)
If you have prescription drug coverage, the plan you have now may not be the best plan for you in 2009. In October, you will receive information about changes in your plan for next year. You can switch plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment, between November 15 and December 31, and begin your new plan in January 2009.
If you don’t have a prescription drug plan and you want one, you can join a plan at this time.
If you have limited income and assets, there is federal money to help pay for your Medicare Part D costs. There is also a state prescription assistance program, Prescription Advantage, which has no asset limit. For most people, this program is free and keeps them out of the “gap”.
Medicare Advantage Plans
If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan (e.g. a Medicare HMO/PPO, or PFFS) your plan will notify you in October of any changes for next year. If you have been satisfied with your plan and it is not changing much, you probably want to keep it. However, if you have been unhappy or your plan is changing a lot, you may want to think about switching plans. Medicare Advantage Plans are also open between November 15 and December 31, and begin in January 2009.
EXTRA HELP FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM (LIS)
Social Security and Medicare are continuing their efforts to enroll seniors in this valuable benefit. There are still more than 5,000 seniors in Worcester County who haven’t applied for Extra Help! We are encouraging all seniors who have not previously applied to get an application and apply. Even though you feel you may not be qualified, fill out the application so that you can get a letter verifying that you have applied. Hold on to this letter as it could be helpful if you apply for Prescription Advantage or other benefits later. If you have any questions feel free to call us at SHINE, 1-800-AGE-INFO then press or say 3.
If you need any help with your health insurance, SHINE has free Medicare counseling at your Senior Center. Call and ask for a SHINE appointment. You can reach a SHINE volunteer by calling 1-800-AGE-INFO, then press or say 3. Once you get the SHINE answering machine, leave your name and number. A volunteer will call you back, as soon as possible.
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