2009 Medicare Open Enrollment for Prescription Drug Coverage begins Novemeber 15th, 2008
The 2009 Medicare annual Open Enrollment Period for prescription drug plans runs from November 15th through December 31, 2008. Medicare beneficiaries will be able to begin making enrollment changes in their health and prescription drug coverage for 2009 if necessary during this time.
In addition, for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans only, beneficiaries can make one change in enrollment—enrolling in a new plan, changing plans or canceling a plan—between January 1 and March 31, 2009.
Now is the time for beneficiaries to prepare and compare their health and prescription drug coverage options and choose the plan that best meets their needs. Beneficiaries should take time to compare their current plan with the new plan options available in 2009. If they are satisfied with their current plan and the current plan does not intend to significantly change coverage benefits, they do not need to do anything in order to maintain that coverage.
Beneficiaries are encouraged to review their prescriptions and other health needs when assessing the plan options described in the Medicare & You handbook or on www.medicare.gov. Beneficiaries who feel they need assistance when reviewing the plan options can call Illinois Health Agents at (630) 930-9364 or any other Medicare Certified agency.
People comfortable with navigating the Internet should take advantage of the enhanced online Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder options available on www.medicare.gov. This feature offers information on available drug plans, including out-of-pocket costs and pharmacy networks. The enhanced online Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder and Medicare Options Compare tools enable beneficiaries to compare drug plan options for prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans in their area.
The 2009 Medicare & You handbook, mailed to beneficiaries in October, includes tips on selecting a plan and an overview of plan options. Beneficiaries already enrolled in a Part D plan will also receive an Annual Notice of Change describing any changes in the benefits of their current drug plan.
Another focus for this year’s open enrollment period involves signing up beneficiaries eligible for extra help, known as the Low Income Subsidy (LIS), to pay for their drugs. This benefit is not only about providing affordable prescription drug coverage; it’s also about promoting better health. For millions of beneficiaries, prescription drug coverage is a critical component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Income and resource limits apply. If you or a loved one feels they may be eligible for the LIS, contact KIPDA or the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
This is an important time for beneficiaries to review their current coverage and make a decision that will give them peace of mind for the rest of the year. We encourage everyone to make a decision by early December, to ensure a smoother transition into the Part D benefit.
Beware of Medicare Fraud:
Unfortunately, not everyone who contacts you about switching to a Medicare drug plan has the best intentions. To protect yourself from scam artists intent on taking advantage of your situation, here are some additional tips to avoid becoming a victim:
Beware of door-to-door sales people. Remember, agents cannot solicit business at your home without an appointment. Do not let uninvited agents into your home.
Do not give out personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers to anyone you have not verified as a licensed agent. People are not allowed to request such personal information in their marketing activities and cannot ask for payment over the Internet. They must send you a bill. Once you decide to purchase a plan and have verified that the agent is licensed, you may give the agent personal information to assist in enrollment and billing.