MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT
November 8, 2018
What Should I Do?
Get started now instead of waiting until Dec 1st.
Pay attention to your mail. You will be getting lots of information; some of it will be on your Part D, Advantage Plans or Extra Help (Social Security Low Income Subsidy) which helps with your prescription drug plan. You may receive notification from Medicare or Social Security wanting to verify your income or informing you of changes coming. Save these letters and bring them to your SHIP counselor if you don’t quite understand them.
Review! Many people are happy with the current coverage and would rather not check what other options are available. This is a very important step, and it can cost you money. How will these amounts change in 2019? You really want to make sure that all your drugs are covered or you could end up paying full price for them. What do I look for?
1. Cost – premiums, deductibles and copayments.
2. Coverage – does your plan cover all your medications?
3. Convenience – does your plan restrict access to certain medications, are there prior authorization or quantity limits? Can you use the mail delivery service?
4. Customer Service – is your plan responsive if you have a question? What rating does your plan have?
Stop in and check your plan out to make sure you are on the best plan for you. They change them every year, change the tiers the drugs are under, and put drugs on or take drugs off their formulary. If a medication is taken off their formulary that means you have to pay most of the cost of that med.
Action for Eastern Montana has a SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) counselor in Miles City to help folks in Custer, Powder River, and Rosebud counties with their needs. Linda Wolff is located at 11 S 7th Suite 165, Monday thru Thursday at 234-8028. She can assist with signing up for Medicare, Social Security, or Part D (Prescription Drug Plan). If you have questions about Social Security and want to know what you would make at 62 vs 66, she can get that information for you. The phone number is 234-8028. With Open Enrollment season upon us it is best to call before just showing up in case she is tied up so you don’t have to wait. She will be available until Nov 30 but will be on vacation Dec 1st. In case you need help then you can call the Glendive office at 1-800-227-0703 or 1-800-Medicare.
LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) is another program available Seniors. LIEAP is income based, but if your income is low, please don’t hesitate to call and see if you qualify. We can assist you in filling out the application. LIEAP helps pay your heat bill for the winter, which can include: Natural Gas, Propane Wood, or Coal. If you qualify for LIEAP there is an excellent chance that you will qualify for Weatherization. They come in and do an energy audit and let you know what they can do. It works well.