Medicare’s open enrollment period is winding down – recipients have three-and-a-half weeks to decide what coverage they want for next year.
“It is wise to compare. That’s our motto,” Julie Brookhart, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services public affairs specialist, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
She says Nebraska’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is available for those who need help.
“Call them (1-800-234-7119) and you can get an appointment with a volunteer who lives near you,” she recommends. “They are also sponsoring a lot of Medicare open enrollment events throughout the rest of the open enrollment season, so they can also tell you about a free Medicare open enrollment event that might be happening close by.”
Brookhart says Medicare recipients do not have to change their plans, but should look at what others are offering, in case there’s a better deal.
“Every year, prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans might change cost of the drugs, of their plan, and may change other things, like the formularies of the drugs they cover,” Brookhart says. “We know, every year too, that people on Medicare will drop drugs that they took the last year or add drugs, so everything changes.”
Nebraskans have many options with 23 prescription drug plans and 19 Medicare Advantage plans.
“A lot of the Medicare Advantage plans, you have to go to providers within their networks, so you really need to look to see what’s most beneficial to you,” Brookhart says. “Then, also, if you don’t have a prescription drug plan from an employer or such, you’d want to add on that Part D prescription drug plan.”
She says Original Medicare is also an option for healthcare coverage.
The open enrollment deadline is December 7th.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:43]