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Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15 and runs through December 7. While JCA SHIP counsels on all aspects of Medicare, our focus during this time frame is assisting beneficiaries with Part D Prescription Drug Plan analysis. This 5-week time frame is the only time seniors can elect to switch for the best plan to manage their prescription medication costs.
The Medicare plan selection process can be so confusing that it often takes the average consumer a great deal of time to calculate their estimated costs depending on whether medications are brand name or generic as well as the negotiated prices the pharmaceutical companies work out with the pharmacy.
Hopefully, the Inflation Reduction Act that just passed in the US Senate and offers the promise and momentum to be passed in the House of Representatives and to be signed into law, will enable Medicare to negotiate the prices of the top 10-20 drugs used by seniors in the next 7 years. Currently, Medicare offers a tool to help calculate the prescription drug costs for various plans. However, it can be an exhausting process and may vary depending on the State where you live.
There are a number of other considerations as to whether the Medicare Part D insurance plan or the Medicare Advantage Plan changes year-to-year deductible and copayments. What is more, with the pending changes to Congressional legislation that will empower Medicare to negotiate pricing with pharmaceutical companies, it is certainly a big help to seniors to access free counseling from the expertise at JCA which manages Montgomery County’s SHIP.
There is so much information available – visit Montgomery County SHIP’s website to learn about the different services we provide to Montgomery County MD Medicare residents, including Medicare counseling from a SHIP-certified counselor to prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment which starts on October 15.
Whether you are already enrolled in Medicare or will soon be eligible, start educating yourself. It is best to learn and understand the pros and cons of the Medicare options and find the most cost-effective Medicare plan.
The SHIP Director, Rafael Espinoza provides educational presentations throughout the year on Medicare basics and Medicare Fraud and Abuse. These outreach events are held at County Public Libraries, Senior Centers, and Senior Residential facilities to help seniors better understand Medicare – see our website for upcoming presentations or invite us to present to your community group. Alternatively, individual counseling is available year-round. If you, a caregiver, or a family member need to speak to one of SHIP’s certified Medicare counselors, you can reach us by calling: 301-255-4250