Open enrollment runs until Dec. 7

Published 7:11 pm Monday, October 24, 2016

It’s that time of year again — time to take another look.

The Medicare Part D open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and will run until Dec. 7. Medicare is divided into a handful of portions, and Part D focuses on plans for prescription drug coverage.

Lindsey Blanton, aging services coordinator with the Mid-East Commission, said open enrollment refers to a time when Medicare beneficiaries, or those who will become eligible for Medicare within the next three months, can assess different plan options and see which one has the lowest cost associated with it.

“It’s important to compare the premiums, deductibles and prescription costs,” Blanton said. “These change every year. … By taking advantage of it (open enrollment), medical beneficiaries can save a lot of money, and that’s money out of their pocket.”

She said many people make the mistake of signing up for a Medicare plan and never taking a second look. This is not in the client’s best interest, according to Blanton, because costs often go up.

“Sometimes people enroll in a plan, and they never come back and change it,” she said. “They’re paying more than they should.”

Blanton said those interested in looking at plan options should go ahead and make an appointment now because spots are filling up. Medicare clients can expect to be referred to appointments at either the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center or the Beaufort County Department of Social Services, both of which are located in Washington.

Blanton said there is usually a great response during open enrollment every year, and a waitlist is already going into effect for appointments at the senior center.

“I would encourage people to go ahead and make an appointment as soon as possible,” she said. “They can see if there is a cheaper option out there.”

To schedule an appointment, Beaufort County residents can call Annette Eubanks at 252-974-1838, or call toll free at 1-855-408-1212.