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Medicare open enrollment continues through Dec. 7

News from the Area VI Agency on Aging

POLSON — Each year during Medicare Open Enrollment you have the opportunity to compare Prescription Drug Plans and Advantage Plans available in the coming year. Insurance companies change prices, plans offered, what drugs they cover, and what areas they cover every year. Plus, your prescriptions may have changed since you chose your current plan. If you let your current plan roll into the new year you may be paying more than you need to. Last year in our Polson office alone, we saved beneficiaries over $100,000 just by using the Planfinder Tool at www.medicare.gov to enter their prescriptions, compare plans for the coming year, and enroll them in the plan they chose. Enrolling in a new plan will end your old plan on Dec. 31, 2016. Then on Jan. 1, 2017, your new plan takes effect for 2017.

Some Insurance companies may choose to stop offering plans in your area. This year New West is going out of business at the end of 2016, so all New West customers need a new plan for 2017.If your plan is ending they will notify you in writing. If you receive a letter that your plan is ending you must enroll in a new plan so that you don’t go without prescription coverage for a period of time and incur a penalty. In most cases if you miss Open Enrollment you may have to wait for next year, and go without Prescription coverage in the meantime.

Medicare Open Enrollment only applies to Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and Advantage Plans. Original Medicare Parts A and B and Medigap plans are unaffected. Also, Medicare Open Enrollment and Obamacare (or Affordable Care Act, or Marketplace) Open Enrollment are not the same thing. Our office cannot help with Markeptplace plans. If you need help with Obamacare or Medicaid Expansion go to www. covermt.org to find local assistors.

If you would like assistance with Medicare Open Enrollment call Area VI Agency on Aging for an appointment, as we are very busy during this time. Call us at 406- 883-7284 or 1-800-266- 4188. We have people in Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, and Sanders Counties who can help you.

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