Open enrollment draws near

From staff reports

LEWISTOWN – The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is scheduled from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, during which Medicare beneficiaries can join, switch or drop their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage coverage, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans can change their coverage and costs each year, so it’s important to review each plan and compare it to others on the market that are available.

Most plan information for 2014 is now available, with 39 stand-alone plans total. However, only 34 of these plans are available for enrollment as five of them are currently under sanctions from the federal government and are banned from all marketing activities or new enrollments.

There are currently 34 stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans for people with original Medicare to choose from in Pennsylvania. Twenty-six of the Medicare Health Plans include drugs while 11 do not. If you already have Medicare, this is your opportunity to make a change, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Those who missed the initial open enrollment, are still eligible, but at higher costs.

One of the best ways to select a drug plan is to do a drug plan comparison. To do so, call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 and provide them with a current list of medications; log on to the Medicare website at and enter the medications; contact The Apprise health insurance counselors at a local area agency on aging. The Mifflin Juniata County Area Agency on Aging can be reached at 242-0315 or (800) 348-2277.

Comparison and Enrollment events are scheduled for Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 at the Mifflin/Juniata Regional Services Building and Nov. 22 at the CJEMS Building. Call ahead to schedule a time for an Apprise counseling session.