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News from the Area VI Agency on Aging
LAKE COUNTY — Medicare Open Enrollment is Oct. 15-Dec. 7. 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, and what drugs 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. Then on Jan. 1 your new plan takes effect for 2016.
Some insurance companies may choose to stop offering plans in your area. 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 a period of time and incur a penalty. In most cases if you miss Open Enrollment you will have to wait for next year, and go uninsured in the meantime. Any penalty incurred is added to your monthly premium every month for as long as you have Medicare drug coverage. That’s the rest of your life for most people.
Medicare Open Enrollment only applies to Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and Advantage Plans. Medicare Parts A and B and Medigap plans are unaffected.
If you would like assistance with Open Enrollment call the Area VI Agency on Aging for an appointment, as we are very busy during that time and walk-ins can’t usually be accommodated. Call us at 406-883-7284 or 1-800-266-4188. Our office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and we are closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
We have people in Lake, Lincoln, Mineral and Sanders Counties who can help you. We are an unbiased non-profit organization. Voluntary donations are accepted.