Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription drug plans are encouraged to check each year during the annual enrollment period for their best plan for the following year.

The AEP runs to Dec. 7. Plans can change their premium, deductible, and drug coverage each year.

For example, people with WellCare plans have been notified that Hometown Pharmacy will no longer be a preferred pharmacy in 2021. This could increase costs considerably.

The most cost-effective plan for each individual depends on the specific drugs including dosages that he or she takes. Also, each pharmacy negotiates its own reimbursements with the Part D plans which also affects costs.

The Medicare Plan Finder on www.medicare.gov makes it possible to check all Part D options at the same time. In 2021, 31 plans will be available in Wisconsin.

Instructions on how to use the plan finder are on the Medicare website and the elder benefit specialist page at www.jeffersoncountywi.gov. Due to the pandemic, in-person appointments are not available this year.

If assistance is needed, call Jefferson County’s Aging and Disability Resource Center at 920-674-8734 and ask for a Part D plan finder request form. It will be sent with a postage-paid envelope.

The form should be returned by Thanksgiving so information on the individual’s best 2021 options can be provided in time to make a decision by Dec. 7.

During the AEP, it is also possible to enroll in or change a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans may provide extra benefits such as eye glasses, hearing aids, and dental care. People in advantage plans must have Parts A and B and follow the requirements of the plan. People who instead use original Parts A and B generally enroll in a Medigap plan to supplement their Medicare coverage.

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