The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reminds seniors that the time to change their Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage begins November 15 and ends December 31. In addition to changing their coverage if they so choose, this time period is also an opportunity for people to determine if they qualify for Medicare Part D Extra Help.
Washington (PRWEB) November 9, 2008 -- The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reminds seniors that the time to change their Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage begins November 15 and ends December 31. In addition to changing their coverage if they so choose, this time period is also an opportunity for people to determine if they qualify for Medicare Part D Extra Help.
Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) is open to everyone with Medicare, but people with Medicare must enroll to get the coverage. For those with limited income and resources, Medicare offers Extra Help that will pay for most, if not all, of the premiums and co-pays.
From year to year, Part D plans, which are administered by private companies approved by Medicare to offer prescription drug coverage, change their costs and coverage. What worked well last year for someone might not work as well this year. For example, this year, some people with Medicare may see significant increases to their monthly premium or changes – such as reduced coverage in the donut hole or coverage gap – if they stay in the same prescription drug plan they had this year in 2009.
“Plans change and so do your medication needs," said Stuart Spector, NCOA senior vice president. “This is a golden opportunity to check out your existing Part D plan and whether it is still the right one for you. You can also find out if you’re eligible for the Extra Help low-income subsidy, which, unfortunately, more people may be eligible for during these challenging economic times.”
NCOA recommends that anyone with Medicare:
- Review the changes in your current plan and compare it to others to make sure it still meets your needs. You have received a mailing from your plan called the “Annual Notice of Change” that describes how your current plan will change next year.
- Review the 2009 costs for your current drug plans. Look at the premium, co-pays and deductibles.
- Check to see if the plan covers your medicines.
- Visit BenefitsCheckUp® to determine if you’re eligible for Medicare’s Extra Help (sometimes called the low income subsidy) at www.BenefitsCheckUp.org.
Even if you don’t have prescription drug coverage now, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan during the Annual Open Enrollment period from November 15 through December 31. If you are newly eligible for Medicare, you can enroll in Part D up to three months before and no later than three months after the month you become eligible. A late enrollment penalty may apply if you enroll after this initial period.
To find out more about Medicare Part D and how it works, NCOA recommends visiting www.MyMedicareMatters.org. To review and compare plans, NCOA recommends visiting www.Medicare.gov or calling 1-800-Medicare 1-800-633-4227, TTY 1-877-486-2048 for assistance.
For those without a computer, call 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227, TTY 1-877-486-2048).
Take the time to see if your plan still works for you.
The National Council on Aging, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, is a national voice for older Americans – especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged – and the community organizations that serve them. We turn creative ideas into effective programs that help millions of the nation’s seniors live independently, find jobs and benefits, manage their health and contribute to their communities. For more information, visit www.ncoa.org.
Developed and maintained by The National Council on Aging (NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes more than 1,550 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2001, more than two million people have used the service with a value of more than $6.2 billion.
About My Medicare Matters
www.MyMedicareMatters.org is a consumer focused website that offers information on Medicare prescription drug coverage in easy-to-understand language. It is developed and maintained by the National Council on Aging. In addition to the English language site, there is also a Spanish language version at www.MiMedicareImporta.org.
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