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Mon December 5, 2011
Time to sign up for Medicare
For seniors and people with disabilities, now's the time to sign up for or review Medicare coverage. This year, Medicare's open enrollment period ends a lot earlier than usual.
By Elana Gordon
People typically have until the end this month to enroll in or make changes to their Medicare plans. But this year's deadline is in two days: midnight, December 7.
Carol Behan directs CLAIM, Missouri's free Medicare-counseling program. Behan said people often don't take advantage of this enrollment period for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. People may not need to change anything, but they might save money if they compare their premiums and deductibles of the different plans. "It can be as much as $300 and then we've seen as much as $2,000 saved," said Behan. "So if they're paying a lot out of pocket for prescriptions, there might be better plan for them."
Behan said it's important for beneficiaries to check that needed prescriptions are covered, too. Medicare.gov and CLAIM, Missouri's medicare counseling service, can help navigate all of this.
Meanwhile, officials in Kansas warned about Medicare schemes. Some schemers have reached Medicare recipients by phone, claiming to offer free diabetic supplies. Officials said Medicare never makes direct house calls asking for personal information.