Last updated: November 25. 2013 4:31PM - 463 Views
Kim Reid Contributing columnist

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RALEIGH—Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and the staff of SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, are reminding Medicare beneficiaries of a very important deadline.

The Annual Election Period to review, compare and choose Medicare prescription drug coverage ends Dec. 7, 2013. Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to call SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or

1-800-MEDICARE for free and unbiased help in choosing a drug plan.

There are 29 Part D prescription drug plans available in North Carolina for 2014. Drug plans vary from year to year, so it is important that Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers explore their options during each Annual Election Period. Many Medicare beneficiaries who have called the SHIIP office will save several hundred to several thousand dollars in the coming year because they are changing their prescription drug plan.

It’s worth it to take the time to review and compare, but you don’t have to do it alone. Remember that representatives from Medicare and SHIIP are available to help.

Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.

Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Review the Medicare & You 2014 handbook. It was mailed to Medicare beneficiaries in September.

Get one-on-one help from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-800-443-9354, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and can assist anyone with questions about Medicare Part D coverage information and enrollment. Trained SHIIP counselors are available for one-on-one counseling appointments in all 100 North Carolina counties. For more information, contact SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or visit www.ncshiip.com.

For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (910) 592-7161.

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