Medicare beneficiaries may join or change Medicare Prescription Drug Plans from November 15 through December 31, 2008. Information on plan changes for 2009 became available on October 15. In Nebraska there are a total of 48 plans offered by 20 companies.
There are several important changes to the standard benefit for 2009, but individual plans are also making significant changes to existing benefits. Many plans are changing their premiums, their deductibles, the drugs the plans cover, co-pays, and the terms of “GAP” coverage. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans were required to send an “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) to beneficiaries explaining the changes by October 31. It is very important that seniors read and understand this notice.
Due to numerous benefit changes, it will be difficult for seniors to know whether their current plan will be the best plan for them in 2009. The Medicare.gov website is a good source of information about plans and has a very good comparison tool. Persons wanting assistance with comparisons on the website or with understanding their “Annual Notice of Change” can contact Connie Dvorak at the Homestead Service Coordinator’s office (843-2280) or Karen Koenig at 843-5390, trained SHIIP counselors. SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) is coordinated within the State of Nebraska Department of Insurance. SHIIP counselors do not recommend policies, companies, or insurance agents but do provide information to consumers to allow them to make educated choices. All counseling sessions are free, unbiased, and confidential.