Open Enrollment

Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment period is October 15th to December 7th. This is an important opportunity for all Medicare beneficiaries to review their Medicare Drug Coverage and Medicare Part C plan. (If you’re new to Medicare and haven’t yet enrolled, Click here for advice.)

Mark your calendar with these important dates! At this time, everyone enrolled in Medicare should check how their plan coverage works. As a beneficiary, this responsibility is yours. If you need help, don’t wait: Vermonters, get your questions answered early by calling the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-642-5119.

If your current plan is discontinued, open enrollment may be your only opportunity to choose a different plan. Or you may choose to switch plans because you find a choice that better meets your needs.

You should ask these questions to prepare for Open Enrollment:

  • Is the cost (premium) of my plan changing?
  • Will my plan still cover the drugs I need?
  • Are there any drug restrictions?
  • How does my plan coordinate with any state or federal benefits, if I receive these? (Examples: V-Pharm, Extra Help-Low Income Subsidy, or Medicaid)
  • Is there a plan that fits my needs better than my current one?

Watch your mail. Your current drug plan will send you information in the fall about any changes they are making. For example, they may change the cost of the premium, deductible and co-pays, or the list of drugs included in the formulary. You can compare your current plan to other plans and choose the one that is best for you.

Doing your homework for Open Enrollment can be confusing, but here’s the good news: Free personalized advice is available for Medicare beneficiaries in Vermont, through Senior Solutions and the other non-profit  Vermont Area Agencies on Aging.

Our State Health Insurance assistance Program (SHIP) helps Vermonters learn everything they need to know about Medicare. SHIP offers free classes, information by internet and telephone, and in some cases one-on-one meetings.

SHIP provides free, unbiased information. We are Vermont’s experts on Medicare.  In fact, the federal government’s “Medicare & You” handbook lists the SHIP/Senior HelpLine number on the back cover.

You may also wish to use the online comparison tool at www.medicare.gov

 

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