Iowans will be able to sign up for the Medicare “Part D” open enrollment starting tomorrow (Thursday). Officials say it’s a good time for Medicare recipients to review their drug coverage. Gina Ragland, at the Senior Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIPP, says there are a number of changes this year.
Ragland says: “People that have Medicare prescription drug coverage can look at their options for 2008 and make any choice changes that they want to. We are highly encouraging people to do that or to get some comparisons done or to do their own comparisons because the plans may have worked for them this year but they may not be the same component or the same make-up that they would be for the 2008 time period.”
Ragland says most of the plans have changed so all participants need to review the material. She says, “The premiums are going to change but, yes, most importantly the make-up of those plans potentially could be changing and so again, it’s very important just because the plan worked for them this year doesn’t mean it necessarily is the best plan for them in 2008.”
Ragland says prices vary depending on which program you choose — and there are a lot of programs. She says: “Fifty-two options, you know, that’s a lot for them to pick through of what’s best for them so certainly the premiums for 2008 will vary from $13.90 to $99 a month. Again, those premiums will vary based on the type of converge that a person elects. We have some new plans that are new players with basic benefits and we also have some enhanced plans that are coming that have made some changes on how they pay their claims for the products.”
The open enrollment closes December 31st and those who don’t enroll on time could be charged a penalty. All new enrollments take effect January 1st of 2008. SHIPP is sponsoring a number of enrollment workshops across the state where trained counselors provide free, unbiased and confidential assistance. The SHIPP hotline is 800-234-7119 or visit the website “www.answers4families.org”.