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Medicare open enrollment starts today

by Minden Press-Herald

Special to the Minden Press-Herald

The Louisiana Department of Insurance urges consumers to recognize the beginning of Medicare Open Enrollment by reviewing their coverage or selecting new coverage. If you are over 65 or otherwise eligible for Medicare, now is the time to review your coverage and benefits and make decisions about your plan for the coming year. Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15, 2019 and ends December 7, 2019 for enrollment in 2020 plans.

The Louisiana Senior Health Insurance Information Program staff and volunteers can help Medicare beneficiaries find out if they are getting the best coverage for their needs and if they are eligible for any extra help with premiums,” said Commissioner Donelon. “We have a dedicated staff and volunteer force that can help you in person or over the phone to find the right coverage for you.”

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) staff is available to help Louisiana residents over the phone, at the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) and at events throughout the state. SHIIP also has partner organizations all over Louisiana that can help seniors to navigate Medicare. The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) has created a step-by-step guide and video series to help Medicare beneficiaries better understand their Medicare coverage options and benefits.

The following changes will be made for Medicare Plans in 2020:

Medigap plans that cover the Part B deductible will no longer be available for purchase by newly-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. People who already have Medigap Plans C and F will be able to keep them and people who are already eligible for Medicare prior to 2020 will still be able to buy those plans. However for newly-eligible enrollees, Plan C and Plan F will be discontinued after the end of 2019.

The donut hole is being eliminated in 2020 for generic drugs. The gap in prescription drug coverage, also called the donut hole, starts when someone reaches the initial coverage limit, and ends when they have spent $5,100. Prior to 2011, Medicare Part D enrollees paid the full cost of their medications while in the donut hole. Bu the donut hole has been steadily closing, and it will be fully closed by 2020, when enrollees in standard Part D plans will pay just 25 percent of the cost of their drugs all the way up to the catastrophic coverage threshold (insurers have the option to offer plans with lower cost-sharing, and many do).

Consumers can contact SHIIP by calling the LDI at 1-800-259-5300 or visiting www.ldi.la.gov/SHIIP.

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