Medicare Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Appointments for Part D Drug Plans During Annual Enrollment
REMAINING WITH YOUR MEDICARE PART D PLAN COULD BE COSTLY
· Oct. 15th – Dec 7th is the Annual Enrollment Period to review and switch Part D drug plans.
· For help, call ARC at 309-888-9099 ext. 3, and leave a message for SHIP to return you call. Please call after September 20th.
· Appointments will be set between Oct 15-Dec 7th.
· You do not have to be a member at ARC to make an appointment.
Over the last three years SHIP Counselors found 40% to 60% of those assisted in reviewing their current drug plan indicated they would switch when they learned another plan would cost less.
Annual savings for this group, just last year, totaled close to $54,500. People indicated it was easy to understand why and how to switch with the assistance of SHIP. Counselors, at no cost, will provide private appointments for individuals and couples to compare their current drug plan for 2019 with all other options for 2020. Detailed printed copies of the explanations including costs, best pharmacies and plan specifics are provided. If desired, assistance to switch to a different preferred plan can be done during the appointment. Drug plan comparisons are also available for those without a current drug plan and already on Medicare or will be new to Medicare by Dec 31st.
Important: Medicare Advantage Drug Plans- comparison appointments will be available only until November 21st. Any decisions with this type of insurance involve considerable evaluation of the medical aspects, networks, and co-pays along with the drug options.
SHIP counseling on Medicare A and B and secondary insurance remains available during this time period for those with those with enrollment deadlines.
The 4th Monday and 2nd Thursday SHIP walk-in service from 1-3pm will continue in September, then resume in December. During October & November, that time period is available only by appointment.
SHIP counselors are trained, certified, and experienced in offering one-on-one information for all aspects of Medicare, health insurance and drug plans. A program of ARC, SHIP provides assistance, explanations, and plan comparisons. There is never a cost, sales, or any insurance affiliations.
SHIP is especially helpful for those new to Medicare who are trying to navigate the system and meet deadlines or to anyone wanting to lower current insurance costs and understand options. Help is available by individual appointment at various times each month. Call ARC at 309-888-9099, and a counselor will return your call to set an appointment.
Walk-in hours are available on the 2nd Thursday and 4th Monday of each month ONLY. Walk-ins start at 1 PM with no appointment needed. First come, first served. SHIP is a program of the Illinois Department on Aging.
Medicare Q & A
Higher Income Medicare Part B (and D) Premiums
Question: It came as a surprise when I signed up for Part B and received a letter indicating my monthly premium was higher than the standard premium of $135.50 for those who are new to Medicare Part B in 2019. Why did this happen?
Answer: This additional charge is based on your federal adjusted gross income filed 2 years ago. If your income level is more than $85,000 for a single or more than $170,000 for a married couple, your Part B premium will be surcharged. Every year your income is reviewed and your surcharge could go down, stay the same, or go up depending on your income and the criteria.
Dental Coverage Question: Will Medicare provide any dental coverage?
Answer: Regular Medicare normally does not pay for dental services. However, in certain situations coverage could apply.
· Emergency complicated dental procedure in relation to major surgery.
· Extractions of teeth to prepare the jaw for radiation treatment of neoplastic disease.
Should you choose Medicare Advantage, some plans provide limited coverage for routine exams, dental cleanings and X-rays. You would need to check your plan for these coverages.
Disclaimer: The questions and answers in this article are intended to provide additional understanding on relevant Medicare topics. For additional explanations specific to your situation, please call ARC and request that a SHIP counselor contact you. You may also utilize SHIP walk-in hours on the 2nd Thursday and 4th Monday @1:00.
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