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Senior News

Open enrollment for Medicare Part D (Pharmacy/ medications) plans is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. If you decide to change plans the new plan will start Jan. 1, 2024. To have a part D plan you need to have Part A or B of Medicare.

If you are new to Medicare, you can enroll in a Part D plan during your initial enrollment period which is 3 months before you turn 65, the month of 65 and 3 months after without incurring a penalty. If you enroll after your initial enrollment period, you will be subject to a penalty that is added to your plan for the lifetime of the plan unless you are receiving LIS (low-income subsidy)/Extra Help or Big Sky Rx. If you get Medicare Part B for the first time later than you got Part A (for example if you were covered under an employer group health plan who had creditable drug coverage and then retired and dropped the employer plan) you can also enroll in Part D within two months following the end of your employer coverage. Since drug plans can change from year to year such as rate increases, formulary changes (which affect how and if your medications are covered), deductible changes, coverage area changes and preferred pharmacy changes you should review your plan annually during open enrollment. Also, it is important to be checking any mailings from your current plan for important notices of changes. These notices will be mailed out before open enrollment begins in October.

SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) counselors are available to assist you in reviewing your current drug plan coverage and with enrollment in a new plan should you wish to change. You can also review and change plans on your own by logging into your account or creating one and clicking on the plan compare link. If you have any questions or have a special situation, we are here to help 1-800-551-3191 or call your local SHIP counselor.

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