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Medicare open enrollment 2017: What you need to know

On October 15th, 2017, over one million Louisiana seniors will begin the annual open enrollment period for medicare. There are some changes you need to know about plus, a team of folks on stand-by willing to help you navigate the process.

“Medicare open enrollment is the time of the year between October 15th and December 7th that a medicare beneficiary can choose which health insurance products they want,” said Vicki Dufrene, director of the Senior Health Insurance Information program.

It’s when you examine the new premiums and deductibles of your current plan and see if they still fit your needs.

“Can I save money? Can I still see my doctor? Can I still use my pharmacy? All of those things are what you need to consider during that open enrollment period,” Dufrene added.

For some, it’s a confusing process, especially if doing it by yourself, but Jim Donelon, Commissioner of Insurance said you don’t have to.

 Donelon said “we urge all seniors to access the senior health insurance program here at the department of insurance.”

Donelon and Ron Henderson with the Louisiana Department of Insurance said taking a few minutes to create a profile on the medicare website speeds of the process, allowing them to help you more quickly.

“That gives us valuable time to work on your problem rather than inputting your information into the system,” Henderson added.

There are other benefits. You can have the details of your medications stored in one secure place and through your profile, you can see your medicare summary notices after each doctor’s visit, plus “let you know what preventive health benefits you’re eligible for, when was the last time you had that service done, when is the next time you can have it done and other good information that’s available in there,” Donelon said.

 The deadline for medicare open enrollment is December 7, 2017.

A free information service is available to you through the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s SHIIP program or Senior Health Insurance Information program.

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