Seniors can benefit from Medicare enrollment time |

Seniors can benefit from Medicare enrollment time

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Senior citizens can benefit by contacting the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which is offering help to wade through an upcoming deadline for Medicare drug coverage options.Open enrollment for 2008 Medicare Part D drug coverage started Thursday and continues through Dec. 30. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries who do not have a part D plan can enroll in one, and those who do have coverage can change plans, according to Beneficiaries who take no action will remain in their current plan, with some exceptions for those who receive the low-income subsidy. However, since plans may change their list of covered drugs, tiers, utilization management tools, exceptions and appeals processes, and other aspects of their part D plans, even beneficiaries who were satisfied with their plan in 2006 need to review their options.The selection process can be overwhelming for seniors. Last year there were about 56 different plans available to Colorado seniors, said Cheryl Cain, director of the area’s RSVP.”It’s too much to choose from,” she said. “It’s too much information.”She said seniors can sometimes get backed into staying on a plan that’s unfavorable to their needs due to the time and effort required to understand the program and make decisions. Cain urges seniors to contact RSVP so its volunteers can help them find the plan that will best suit them. Plans can change every year, so they need to be checked every year, she added.”Even if you’re happy with your drug program, at least let us check it,” Cain said.Cain said seniors can benefit from help because they sometimes put off the decision, since it’s complex.”The way it was designed is that it capitalizes on all the weaknesses of seniors and has places for them to fail all along, so there’s a vast number of them that have never even gotten enrolled,” she said. “The only people helping seniors before were people selling insurance plans. Conveniently, every senior they talked to needed the plan they sold.”Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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