Enrollment help is available by calling 1-800-551-3191

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is reminding Medicare beneficiaries that open enrollment in the federal health coverage program started on October 15 and ends December 7, 2020.

DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said now is the time for Medicare recipients to review coverage options for 2021.

“It’s important for Montanans to take this time to evaluate all the options that Medicare offers,” Hogan said.

She said it’s vital recipients take time to review changes to Medicare Prescription Drug plans and Medicare Advantage in order to avoid paying higher prescription or medical costs.

Hogan said recipients can review coverage for 2021 by logging onto MyMedicare.gov and click on the green button “Find Health and Drug Plans.

“This tool will help you evaluate your options for 2021 and change coverage, if needed,” Hogan said.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program available to beneficiaries 65 years and older (also to some adults with disabilities of any age). To be eligible, individuals must have at least (10) years of (equivalent to) full-time employment, or be considered disabled based on Social Security Administration criteria.

Another resource available to Montanans is the State Health Insurance and Assistance Program (SHIP). The SHIP program has Medicare trained counselors across the state to assist Montanans with understanding and accessing Medicare coverage. They offer free, confidential one-on-one assistance to Medicare beneficiaries. To make an appointment with a local SHIP counselor call 1-800-551-3191.

SHIP Director Janet Stellmon said there are several exciting changes to Medicare in 2021. Beginning October 15th, 2020, the Part D Senior Savings Model is available for Medicare Beneficiaries to help with insulin costs. Participating Prescription Drug plans are offering certain insulin drugs for $35.00 per month. “This could result in a huge savings for Medicare Beneficiaries who use insulin,” Stellmon said.

Another change for 2021 is Medicare Beneficiaries with End Stage Renal Disease will be able to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans. Previously, Medicare Beneficiaries with ESRD were not accepted into Medicare Advantage plans.

For more information go to www.ship.mt.gov