WHITE PLAINS, NY — Seniors who want to change their Medicare health plan and Part D coverage for prescription drugs for 2013 can enroll through Dec. 7.
Until that time, they are eligible to move in or out of any type of Medicare coverage they choose. They can also switch to a new health or drug plan or drop their health plan and return to original Medicare. All changes take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Because Blue Cross/Blue Shield is discontinuing its health plans next year, the county’s Department of Senior Programs and Services (DSPS) has scheduled a special session to help seniors select a new one.
The program, “Medicare: Selecting a Health Plan (Advantage, HMO or PPO),” will take place on Thursday, Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the eighth floor of the County Office Building, 9 S. First Ave., Mount Vernon.
Information on how to select a new health plan will also be discussed at already announced Medicare Basics workshops on Oct. 24, Nov. 15 and Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the same location. All sessions are free.
Seniors who want help to select the plan that best suits their needs, should call (914) 813-6100 – DSPS’ year-round Medicare Information Line.
Even seniors who are satisfied with their current plans should review the mailing they received from their insurance companies with information about changes to that plan for 2013. For example, it is possible that next year’s plan would have a new monthly premium, new deductibles and new co-payments. Seniors should also check that the 2013 plan will continue to cover their current medications and will continue to work with their pharmacy.
In addition to the county’s Medicare Information Line, free help is also available from the Senior Benefits Information Centers (SBICs) that are sponsored by the Westchester Library System and the Medicare Rights Center with support from DSPS.
Medicare-trained counselors provide one-on-one counseling at the SBICs at the eight libraries listed below. They can also tell seniors how to get help paying for medications and the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Seniors who sign up for Medicare Advantage can cancel their enrollment next year between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14.
SBICs are located at these libraries. There is no need to call for an appointment. Counselors will be available at the dates and times below:
Mount Kisco Public Library, 100 Main St., Mount Kisco (914) 269-7764, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Warner Library, 121 N. Broadway, Tarrytown (914) 269-7765, Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Grinton I. Will Library, 1500 Central Park Ave., Yonkers (914) 269-7138, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
John C. Hart Memorial Library, 1130 Main St., Shrub Oak (914) 269-7137, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Field Library, 4 Nelson Ave., Peekskill, (914) 265-5286, Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle, (914) 265-5287, Fridays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road, Elmsford, (914) 269-7129, Mondays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library, 1 Haseco Ave., Port Chester (914) 269-7131, Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Seniors can also find help at the federal government’s Medicare site at www.medicare.gov or its helpline at (800) 633-4227.