ALTON — SHIP (Senior Health Insurance Program) counselors Kelly Chapman and Michelle Rowe of Senior Services Plus have been busy this annual enrollment period.
They have been meeting with Medicare beneficiaries and their family members regarding prescription drug insurance coverage options.
Medicare’s annual enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 is the only time of year when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their coverage. SHIP is a free Medicare counseling services provided by the Illinois Department on Aging. During the annual enrollment period, SHIP counselors at Senior Services Plus meet with Medicare beneficiaries to review their coverage and determine which drug plan or health plan would be best for them in 2015.
During this period, counselors meet many beneficiaries who have never changed their coverage. Some beneficiaries enrolled in a Part D plan many years ago and stayed with the same plan for years. Medicare prescription drug plan and health plan coverages can change from year to year. Plan premiums may increase, deductibles may be added, and perhaps certain prescription drugs may be removed from the plan. Perhaps you were able to get free co-pays for tier one generics with your current plan, but next year the cost is going up to $3 for the same medications.
This is a good example of why it is important to review coverage every year. SHIP counselors met with and enrolled about 100 Medicare beneficiaries into different plans for 2015 during this year’s annual enrollment period.
As a result of helping Medicare consumers change their plans, beneficiaries are expected to save $62,802 over 2015.
This total was calculated by using the plan finder tool on Medicare’s website and comparing the estimated cost of what the beneficiaries would pay for their drug coverage in 2015 with the plan they are enrolled in, to the estimated annual cost of their drug coverage in 2015 with a more cost-saving plan.
For information or to volunteer, contact the front desk receptionist at Senior Services Plus at (618) 465-3298 ext. 100. Senior Services Plus is located at 2603 N. Rodgers Ave. in Alton. More information is available at www.seniorservicesplus.org.