KHI News Service

Medicare Part D open enrollment starts today

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | October 15, 2013

State officials are encouraging seniors to contact their area Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas office if they need help enrolling or re-enrolling in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

“SHICK counselors are trained to help older Kansans cut through the confusion that sometimes keeps them from understanding their Medicare Part D options,” Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan said in a prepared statement. “During this open enrollment period, we’re here to help you find the prescription drug plan that best meets your needs.”

This open enrollment period runs from today through Dec. 7.

SCHICK workers are housed in Area Agency on Aging offices throughout the state.

In Kansas, seniors have access to 30 Medicare Part D plans. Subsidies are available for those with incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $1,436 a month for a one-person household or $1,939 a month for a two-person household.

SHICK is a federally funded programs administered by KDADS. Its services are free, confidential, and available to anyone, regardless of income.

Seniors, their family members, or caregivers are encouraged to call an area SHICK office to schedule an appointment. For help in locating a SHICK office, call 800-860-5260.

KDADS officials are advising all current Medicare Part D beneficiaries to review their plans before re-enrolling.

“Each year Medicare Part D premiums change as well as co-pays and medications covered by the prescription drug plans,” said Craig Kaberline, commissioner on aging at KDADS.

Beneficiaries have the option of changing plans during the enrollment process.

A recent study found that between 2006 and 2010, only 13 percent of the nation’s Medicare Part D enrollees voluntarily switched plans.

The Medicare Part D enrollment process is separate from that for obtaining health insurance through the online marketplace that’s part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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