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Unbiased Medicare plan comparison help available

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Mary Loftis knows the importance of paying attention to Medicare Prescription Drug plans.

Medicare Open Enrollment starts Friday, Oct. 15, and will continue until Dec. 7, said Loftis, a Nebraska State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselor.

People with Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance or Medicare Part C Advantage Plan insurance can compare 2022 plans during open enrollment.

Medicare plans can change from one year to the next — potentially affecting how a person’s coverage works.

Nebraska SHIP is available to help provide confidential and unbiased assistance in comparing plans for the coming year.

“It’s another year of changes and the only way to put your mind at ease and know you aren’t spending any more than necessary — you need to compare your prescriptions against all the Medicare health and drug plans,” Loftis told the Tribune.

Medicare enrollees should have received information from their 2021 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan advising of changes in premium, deductibles and drug coverages.

Another change that can affect the most economical plan for an individual in 2022 is that they may have added or reduced the prescriptions they take.

But if they only look at the information they received by mail, the individual will not know if there are any new Medicare Prescription Drug Plans available in Nebraska for 2022, Loftis said in a prepared statement.

Loftis said there also will be changes in preferred pharmacies this year — and while premium costs are important — it is the coverage and cost of prescriptions which a person takes that really matter.

Even for those happy with their current plan, it’s a good idea to compare.

Then they can rest assured they’re not paying any more than necessary for prescriptions in 2022.

Nebraska SHIP and Medicare offer free counseling.

People need not leave their homes to get help. Nebraska SHIP is again offering phone appointment and virtual meetings using a computer or tablet.

Those interested in getting help comparing their Medicare Part D or Advantage Plan options may make an appointment to speak with a SHIP-certified counselor by calling:

Nebraska Extension in Burt County at 402-374-2929 or the state SHIP number at 1-800-234-7119.

With all the changes, it’s a great idea to make an appointment before they fill up.

Individuals also can visit http://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare plans themselves or enroll in a new plan.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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