Medicare beneficiaries have seven weeks this year, from now to Dec. 7, to enroll in, or change a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. A change could help lower their prescription drug costs or protect against higher drug costs. These plans are offered by private insurance companies that are Medicare approved.

Just as health care needs may change from year to year, so do prescription drug plans. Now is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to check out the various available plans in Maine and see if they are still getting the best benefit that they can based on their current health care needs.

Open enrollment began earlier this year to give more time to process changes to begin in January. Coverage will begin on Jan. 1 as long as the insurance company gets the request by Dec. 7. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of open enrollment sooner rather than later.

Medicare beneficiaries who are not happy with their plans or who do not have a plan are urged to call 877-353-3771 and to speak with a Medicare counselor. This is a free service and can help those on Medicare sort out all the options and make the most suitable choice for them.

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