Mon December 5, 2011
Medicare Enrollment Period Nears End; Schemes Reported
By Elana Gordon
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Area health agencies are reminding eligible seniors and those with disabilities that now's the time to sign up or review their Medicare coverage. That's because Medicare's open enrollment period ends a lot earlier this year.
People typically have until the end of this month to enroll in or make changes to their Medicare plans. But this year's deadline is in two days.
"Midnight, December 7th," says Carol Behan, director of CLAIM, Missouri's free Medicare counseling program.
Behan says people often don't take advantage of this enrollment period for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. People may not have to change anything, she says, but they might save money if they compare the premiums and deductibles of the different plans.
"It can be as much as $300 and then we've seen as much as $2,000 saved," says Behan. "So if they're paying a lot out of pocket for prescriptions, there might be better plan for them."
Behan says it's important for beneficiaries to make sure needed prescriptions are covered, too.
Free assistance is available through Missouri's CLAIM program and at www.medicare.gov.
Meanwhile, Kansas has issued a warning about reports of Medicare Part D schemes in the state. Some recipients have been offered free diabetic supplies over the phone. Officials caution that Medicare never makes direct house calls asking for people's personal information or to sell products.
Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
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