Medicare Part D open
enrollment deadline drawing close â�?�? seniors urged to act now The Medicare Rx Access Network of South Dakota is urging Medicare beneficiaries to avoid last-minute decisions about their 2009 Medicare prescription drug coverage. Although the open-enrollment deadline for Medicare Part D coverage is December 31, taking action as soon as possible â�?�? the sooner the better â�?�? will allow time for processing and avoid any inconvenience at the pharmacy counter at the beginning of the year. Seniors wishing to change Medicare prescription drug plans or sign up with a plan for the first time must do so in the next 20 days. Beneficiaries who are satisfied with their existing Part D plan donâ�?�?t have to do anything. However, the Medicare Rx Access Network of South Dakota recommends that seniors re-evaluate their current coverage to make sure it continues to meet their prescription drug needs. No matter what oneâ�?�?s health status, Medicare prescription drug coverage provides beneficiaries with peace of mind now â�?�? and in the future. When considering different plans, the Medicare Rx Access Network of South Dakota suggests that people know their â�?�?three Câ�?�?sâ�?: Coverage â�?�? Does that plan cover your medicine? Does the plan have a coverage gap? Do you need more comprehensive coverage in 2009? Cost â�?�? What is a planâ�?�?s monthly premium? Does the plan have a deductible? How does the plan handle co-payments? Convenience â�?�? Is your local pharmacy in the planâ�?�?s network? Does the plan have a mail-order option? For help addressing the â�?�?three Câ�?�?sâ�? and estimating annual drug costs, seniors can turn to Medicareâ�?�?s prescription drug plan finder, available at www.medicare.gov. Beneficiaries also can speak with counselors at 1-800-MEDICARE or the counselors at their local Senior Health Information and Insurance Education (SHIINE) office for one on one counseling at (800) 536-8197. Additional assistance is also available to low-income seniors who have trouble affording their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. According to federal health officials, over 3 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide were eligible for the low-income subsidy this year but didnâ�?�?t apply. They sill have until the end of the year to do so. For information, beneficiaries can visit their local Social Security office or call 1-800-722-1213.