Hamm: Medicare Open Enrollment Just Around the Corner
Posted on 10/30/2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cecily Fong
October 30, 2007
Bismarck, ND - Insurance Commissioner Adam W. Hamm today reminded seniors that the annual open enrollment period for Part D prescription drug coverage is right around the corner. The open enrollment period for Part D runs from November 15 to December 31, 2007.
"It is very important that seniors and other beneficiaries make the most of their Medicare coverage and consider whether or not they should change their drug plan for 2008." Hamm said.
For the past two years, the Department of Insurance through its State Health Insurance Counseling (SHIC) program has been the main source of impartial, personal counseling on the Part D policies. This year SHIC has partnered with the ND Community Services Helpline known as 2-1-1 and the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) to be sure all Medicare beneficiaries get the information they need.
Eligible North Dakotas that might be interested in switching plans or those that are signing up for the first time should phone "2-1-1" from any telephone in North Dakota and answer a few questions to narrow down plan options. Shortly after the call, a customized comparison listing Part D plans will be prepared comparing premium costs for suitable plans and sent to all callers.
Once a plan is chosen, joining is easy. Beneficiaries have the following options:
Enroll directly with the selected plan by calling the plan's toll-free number;
Call their insurance agent;
Visit Medicare's website, www.medicare.gov or call Medicare toll-free at 1-800-633-4227;
Call RSVP at 701-258-5436 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm; or
Call SHIC toll-free at 1-888-575-6611.
Hamm said, "Before switching plans or signing up, beneficiaries should make sure the plan is still affordable and offers adequate coverage."
Specifically, consumers should consider when the "donut hole," which is a temporary break in drug coverage when beneficiaries and the drug plan have paid $2,510 towards the costs of prescriptions, occurs in their current plan. Beneficiaries should also make sure their specific prescriptions are covered and that the plan contracts with their preferred pharmacy. Beneficiaries who are satisfied with the plans they have, do not have to do anything--they will be re-enrolled automatically.
Those who would like assistance in person should consider attending a community enrollment event in their area. Upcoming events will be held in Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot, and Williston. For dates and locations of these events or for other information, including assistance, the SHIC toll-free number is 1-888-575-6611.