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Medicare open enrollment is now

News from the Area VI Agency on Aging

Each year during Medicare open enrollment, Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 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. If you want to, you can go on medicare.gov and use the Planfinder Tool yourself. Enrolling in a new plan will end your old plan on Dec. 31, 2017. Then on Jan. 1 your new plan takes effect for 2018.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield is discontinuing their advantage plans from 2017, and is offering different, new plans in Lake and Lincoln Counties. They are not offering plans in Mineral or Sanders Counties. Humana is offering advantage plans in all four counties. 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 uninsured for prescription drugs 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 uninsured for prescription drugs in the meantime. You also have an opportunity to change to a Medigap plan with no medical underwriting if your advantage plan is ending.

At the Area VI Agency on Aging we can explain your options and help you with sign-up.  Or we can show you how to use the Planfinder Tool for yourself. If you would like assistance with open enrollment, call for an appointment, as we are very busy at this time. Call us at 1-800-266-4188. We have people in Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, and Sanders Counties who can help you. Our office in Polson is located at 110 Main, Suite 5, on the second floor of the Salish building by the bridge. We are an unbiased, non-profit source of information.

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