The time to review and join, switch or drop Medicare prescription plans is earlier this year: Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. During this open enrollment window, all people with Medicare can see what new benefits Medicare has to offer in 2012 and make changes to their coverage if they wish.
Your health needs change from year to year. Your health plan’s benefits and costs may also change from year to year. That’s why it’s important each year to evaluate the plans available. Your current plan may cost more or have dropped a benefit you liked. A different plan may save you money or provide a benefit that you didn’t need before, but do for 2012.
Open enrollment is not only earlier, it’s also longer -- seven weeks -- to give seniors and people with disabilities more time to compare and find the best plan that meets their unique needs. The earlier closing date, Dec. 7, gives Medicare more time to process your choice, so coverage can
on Jan. 1.
I encourage all Medicare beneficiaries and their families to begin reviewing drug and health plan coverage options for 2012 now. Visit Medicare’s Plan Finder today, available at http://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan or contact Alaska’s Medicare Information Office, 1-800-478-6065 from anywhere in Alaska or 269-3680 if you are in Anchorage.
What you’ll find this year are more benefits, better choices and lower costs. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, additional benefits to people with Medicare include lower prescription drug costs through a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs in the coverage gap (also referred to as the “donut hole”), wellness checkups, and access to certain preventive care with no copayments.
William J. Streur, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS)
Duane Mayes, Director, DHSS Division of Senior & Disabilities Services
For more details regarding the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage go to: http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dsds/medicare/prescription.htm