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Insurance Department: Medicare Enrollment Going on Now

(Spencer Platt/Getty)

Insurance Commissioner Tom Hirsig is reminding Wyomingites that Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period began October 15 and continues through December 7, 2012. In most cases you will not be able to change Prescription Drug Plan options outside the open enrollment period; therefore, you should take the time to carefully review your Medicare benefits and options now.Hirsig says it is “extremely important that you review your drug plan during the Open Enrollment Period  as plans change, premiums and co-payments change, and even the drugs your plan covers can change. This may be your only opportunity to change plans for the coming year.”

Also significant this year is that a number of Medicare Health Plans, also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, have chosen not to renew their Medicare contracts. If you received a non-renewal notice this year, the notice should also have included information about the options available in your area. Help enrolling or changing prescription drug plans, in your local area, can be found by contacting the Wyoming State Health Insurance Information Program (WSHIIP) in Casper at 1-877-634-1006, in Cheyenne, at 1-877-634-1005, or statewide, in Riverton, by calling 1-800-856-4398. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for assistance, or by using Medicare’s Prescription Drug Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov.

Hirsig adds that “not everyone who contacts you about switching your Medicare drug or health plan has the best intentions.” To protect yourself from fraud, here are some additional tips:

  • · Beware of door-to-door sales people. Agents cannot solicit business at your home without an appointment. Do not let uninvited agents into your home.
  • · Check with the Wyoming Insurance Department to make sure the agent is licensed.
  • · Do not give out personal information, such as Social Security or Medicare ID numbers, bank account or credit card numbers to anyone you have not verified as a licensed agent.
  • · Verify that the plan you have chosen is an approved Medicare plan. All of the approved plans are available at www.medicare.gov, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
  • · Should you suspect Medicare fraud, please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-800-856-4398.

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