Tester to Montana seniors: Time for Medicare Open Enrollment is now

(BILLINGS, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester, one of Montana’s most powerful advocates for Medicare, is reminding Montana seniors that now is the time of year to look at their Medicare plans and make any necessary changes.

Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period allows seniors to see what changes are being made to Medicare plans and adjust their benefits accordingly. Open Enrollment began on October 15 and runs through December 7. Seniors can receive free health-benefits counseling and advocacy services by calling the Montana State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at (800) 551-3191. Changes can be made at Medicare’s website, www.medicare.gov

“Montana seniors worked hard to earn their Medicare benefits and deserve the best care available,” Tester said. “I encourage every Montana senior to make sure their plan is working for them. As folks age and their needs change, it’s important that their Medicare plan continues to provide necessary medical coverage.”

Open enrollment allows seniors to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, switch Advantage Plans, or change to Original Medicare. They can also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or switch drug plans.

Tester, who regularly holds listening sessions around Montana to hear seniors concerns about Medicare and Social Security, opposes cuts to the programs. Because of legislation Tester supported, Medicare now provides free annual physicals and other wellness care to seniors. Tester has also helped close the donut hole in the prescription drug plan, which saved 11,013 Montana seniors over $6.8 million in 2011 alone.

For additional Medicare assistance, seniors can also contact any of Tester’s state offices at (866) 554-4403.