The Woodward News

November 15, 2012

Medicare enrollment clinic set

Gary Engel
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The open enrollment period for Medicare runs through Dec. 7.

To provide counseling regarding any changes that may be necessary for your particular plan, the Oklahoma Economic Development Authority's Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is holding a free workshop and an open enrollment clinic in Woodward on Nov. 20.

The  workshop begins at 11:15 a.m. at the Woodward Senior Center, 1420 Downs. Executive Director of the area agency Leona Perry said Medicare Certified counselors will present information to beneficiaries, care recipients and caregivers. The information presented there will cover the Medicare Part D Drug Plan and changes in Medicare.

At 1 p.m., the site changes to High Plains Technology Center where counselors will conduct a Medicare Open Enrollment Clinic. This is for those who wish to review, compare, or switch plans, enroll in a new plan or "disenroll" in a Medicare Drug Plan, Perry said.

"Those who attend need to bring a list of their medications and dosages for each and their Medicare card," she said.

During the open enrollment period, Medicare recipients may:

- Join a Medicare prescription drug plan.

- Switch plans from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Prescription Drug Plan.

- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.

- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, and vice versa.

- Completely drop prescription drug coverage.

Any changes made won't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2013, then, in most cases, you have to remain in the plan for the next calendar year, said Perry.

She said in past years, those who were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan could make a switch from one plan to another every year during January, February and March.

That open enrollment period is no longer available.

"However, you will still be able to switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare during a disenrollment period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 each year," Perry said in her information.

If you disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan during that Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 period, you will still be able to sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan at the same time, according to Perry.

The Area Agency on Aging urges recipients of Medicare services and their caregivers to review Medicare health prescription drug plans each year.

Perry said the agency wants to assure beneficiaries have the plan that is appropriate for them, so they may receive all the benefits they could be eligible to receive.

She said those who can't make the Nov. 20 sessions, or who would like to set up a face-to-face counseling session, may contact the agency in Beaver, toll-free at (800) 658-2844 or (580) 625-4531 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Or interested persons may call the Senior Info-Line to learn more, also toll-free, at (800) 211-2116

Perry said people may also get the free counseling by calling the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program at the State of Oklahoma Insurance Department, (800) 763-2828, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays