Free Medicare open enrollment help offered to seniors

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Medicare Assistance Program (MAP) wants to help senior adults with the Medicare open enrollment process and clear up any confusion related to the Health Insurance Marketplace. The 626,000 Oklahomans on Medicare should not look for coverage on the Marketplace. They also need to know that it’s illegal for someone who knows they have Medicare to sell them a Marketplace plan.

Medicare open enrollment began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. During this time, Medicare-eligible consumers can sign up for coverage and Medicare recipients can change their options for the coming year. Personalized Medicare counseling is available by calling 1-800-763-2828.

“Our MAP counselors are here to help you weigh all your options and make an informed decision,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “I urge Oklahomans on Medicare to take advantage of this free service that can help you improve your coverage, save money, or both.”

While seniors do not need to enroll in the Marketplace, they are encouraged to review their Medicare options, including Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription plans. Already this month, a review resulted in an annual savings of $5,527 for one Oklahoman.

“Plan costs and coverage change each year, so everyone with Medicare should check to make sure their plan still meets their health needs and budget,” said Ray Walker, MAP Director. “They may be able to find a Medicare health or drug plan with better coverage or a lower premium.”

During last year’s open enrollment period, MAP counselors helped more than 7,000 Medicare beneficiaries review their plans. Their average annual savings was between $500 and $1,000. One individual, after reviewing her Part D drug plan, saved $33,000 alone.