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Utah News

Shopping Isn't Over: One Week Left to Compare Medicare Drug Plans

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More than 52 million people on Medicare are age 65 or older and the vast majority take one or more prescription drugs.

Idahoans may have shopped until they dropped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but Medicare enrollees have one last thing to shop for: a prescription drug plan.The open-enrollment period for Medicare Part D ends on Dec. 7, allowing folks to compare prices until then.

Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors, SHIBA, is the state's provider for the federal State Health Insurance Assistance Programs and helps folks looking at plans.

Shannon Hohl, program supervisor at SHIBA, said people should get into the habit of shopping for plans because they change year to year.

"It's really important for everyone on Medicare to at least take a look at what those changes might be," Hohl urged. "And then possibly see if there might be something that'd be a better fit, or maybe it'll be staying with their current coverage. But we want people to take a look."

More than 52 million people on Medicare are 65 or older. About 85% of people older than 60 take prescription drugs, making the open-enrollment period especially important for older Americans.

Hohl noted the open-enrollment period also is important if a person is on medications for the first time or their prescriptions have changed.

"Maybe this plan worked for them last year but maybe their medication is really expensive this year," Hohl outlined. "We would be available to help them take a look. Is there something that covers that medication better?"

Hohl advised people to start shopping as soon as possible if they're interested in changing their plans.

Folks can reach SHIBA's Medicare help line at 1-800-247-4422. Hohl added her organization will connect people with someone in their region of Idaho.