It’s time for Medicare Open Enrollment!   Karen Courtney from Carewell Services was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins on the “Miles for Memories” segment.

She said Medicare Open Enrollment is going on now, through December 7th.  Whatever choice you’ve made by midnight on December 7th,  that’s your plan for next year. Courtney said, “This year, due to COVID-19, we’re going to be helping people on the phone only”. Courtney says some area counties may be offering in-person appointments, but Calhoun County won’t be taking chances with COVID-19.

Courtney said the first step is to call 1-800-803-7174 and make an appointment.  “We’ll phone you at your scheduled time and do a review over the phone, similar to what 1-800 Medicare does, but without you having to wait on hold!  You can sit in the comfort of your living room or at the kitchen table and we will review your current Medicare plan, medication list, and we’ll go through what the options are for you, based on the information for you have posted at medicare.gov.”

Courtney says there’s some good news for diabetics this year.  “For those who are over income for what’s called the ‘extra help’ program, a low-income assistance program that keeps copay costs below the $9 threshold, there is help available.”

In May, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new nationwide Medicare prescription $35 cap on insulin co-pays, even during “the donut hole.” This is good news for many insulin-using Medicare beneficiaries, but there are some things to know about this new cap. The insulin savings does not take effect until 2021.

Not every Part D or Medicare Advantage plan has agreed to participate in the insulin savings programs. At the time of the announcement, a total of 88 insurers had agreed to participate with a total of 1,750 different drug coverage plan options. More plans may opt-in before Open Enrollment begins on October 15.

People will have to choose one of these new “enhanced” plans to get the savings, and the savings may not be included in many of the lower premium plans offered. You may have to pay a higher monthly premium to get the lower insulin copays.

Plans may be able to dictate which brands of insulins they offer at the reduced rate—so patients may have to switch to different insulin to get the savings. NON-insulin injectable diabetes medications like Victoza, Trulicity, and Ozempic, among others, are NOT part of this new pricing program.

Plan on comparing Part D or Medicare Advantage plans this open enrollment if you use insulin. Medicare Part D Open Enrollment runs October 15 through December 7 each year. MMAP can help.

Call 1-800-803-7174 for MMAP  or, if you don’t think you need help, go to Medicare.gov, set up your account, and see the options.

Here's a video that helps explain things.

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