Review Your Medicare Drug Plan Every Year; N.D. Insurance Dept. Offering Help by Phone

Posted on 10/21/20

Pharmacist talking to customer

Are you paying too much for your medications?

Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7. It can be tempting — and easier — for Medicare beneficiaries to simply stick with their current coverage. But that could be a mistake.

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year – things like cost, coverage, and which providers and pharmacies are in your networks. A medication you take may be covered in your prescription drug plan this year, but it might not be next year because drug plans change from year-to-year.

If you’re not reevaluating your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan every year, you may be paying too much for your medications.

Medicare beneficiaries should read their annual Notice of Change and review their health and prescription drug plan options for 2020 during the open enrollment period. Insurers must notify enrollees of any plan changes for the coming year before the end of September. People should read their Notice of Change carefully, compare their current plan with other available plans, and change to a different plan during open enrollment if it better meets their current needs.

Medicare health and prescription drug costs can vary widely between plans for the same drug or service. During Medicare open enrollment, some people may be able to save hundreds of dollars on out-of-pocket costs just by changing to a different plan.

In past years, the North Dakota Insurance Department hosted Medicare Part D Annual Enrollment Events across the state; however, this year the department has moved to counseling Medicare beneficiaries by phone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The appointments will still provide beneficiaries of all ages with the opportunity to review, compare or shop for coverage options with the assistance of trained State Health Insurance Counseling (SHIC) volunteer counselors.

Individuals who would like to schedule a telephone appointment with a counselor should visit insurance.nd.gov/medicare-part-d-open-enrollment-counseling or call 701-328-2440. Please only schedule one person per appointment. When scheduling online or calling to make an appointment, please have:

  • A current list of prescription medications, including dosages and frequency
  • Your Medicare card (if applicable)
  • A completed State Health Insurance Counseling (SHIC) Intake Questionnaire (SFN 61886), which can be downloaded at insurance.nd.gov/medicare-part-d-open-enrollment-counseling or a copy may be requested by calling (701) 328-2440

Take the time to review your Medicare options and change your health plan and prescription drug plan for the upcoming year if it makes sense to do so.

You can also complete a plan comparison on the Medicare website at Medicare.gov.

This story is provided by AARP North Dakota. Visit the AARP North Dakota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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