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SHIP can help with Medicare changes

November 7, 2010
Jonna Wagar, MMSC Director of Volunteers Services, Marshalltown

Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center is the sponsor for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program.

The last six weeks of 2010 are very important for anyone on Medicare. During this time, November 15 through December 31,2010, you can choose to change your Medicare drug coverage for 2011 or enroll in a plan

The 2011 Part D plans were announced in early October and plans had to notify their members of any changes by October 31. Your first step in choosing a plan should be to compare what your current plan is offering to the other options available.

Part D premiums for 2011 range from $14.80 to $106.40 per month. The lowest premium plan is not necessarily the most economical for everyone because of other factors. Plans can change their benefits and restrictions annually. A plan that met your needs well in 2010 may not provide the coverage you need in 2011. It's important to check that all of your drugs will be covered and that you limit plan restrictions. Plan restrictions include a limit on the quantity that you can receive monthly, a requirement that the plan has to authorize a prescription before it can be filled and requires you to try less expensive drugs before you "step" to a more expensive drug.

Once again in 2011, Medicare is offering extra help with drug costs through Part D. If your income is below $16,245 as an individual ($21,855 couple) and your resources are below $12,510 ($25,010 couple) you might get help with your Part D premium and drug costs. Call SHIIP or the Social Security Administration, 1-800-772-1213, if you think you might qualify.

SHIIP can HELP! The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) volunteers, based at Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, are available to help anyone on Medicare with questions about the drug benefit. To make an appointment with a SHIIP counselor please call 641-754-5399. SHIIP's services are free, confidential and objective.

 
 

 

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