Tuesday is the first day of the Medicare open enrollment period that extends to December 7.
Between now and December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Part D prescription drug coverage or their Medicare Advantage plans. Missouri Department of Insurance Spokesperson Chris Cline said prices and plans can change every year.
“Medicare beneficiaries just want to take advantage of the open enrollment period, review their plans, review what’s available to them and make a choice on what available to them this year rather than maybe what they’ve had in the past,” Cline said.
The Department of Insurance offers a free program called CLAIM, which utilizes trained volunteer counselors to help anyone in the state evaluate their Medicare plan. Lead Trainer for CLAIM Tracey Wetzel said people that need help can call their toll-free helpline at 1-800-390-3330.
“How our program works is we actually take the beneficiaries basic information and we route them to a counselor in their local area. So they talk to one of our counselors, usually someone in the same town or the same county,” Wetzel said.
Medicare beneficiaries can save money by updating their plans as the different variables that dictate cost change every year.
“I did run a comparison for someone this morning. We saved her about 200 dollars over the year, by just running her drug plan and spending about 20 minutes,” Wetzel said.
Wetzel asks callers to be patient as CLAIM’s call center uses real people to field questions and has a staff of four.