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Seniors Reminded of Medicare Deadline

Open enrollment ends Dec. 7; statewide, 2.8 million residents are eligible for program

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service
The Tube City Almanac
December 05, 2022
Posted in: State & Region

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period ends Dec. 7, so if you’re one of the 2.8 million Pennsylvanians eligible for Medicare, decisions need to be made now for the coming year.

Joanne Grossi, Pennsylvania state president emeritus for AARP, said it is important for anyone on Medicare to review their coverage options, and make sure their plan still meets their health care needs, because the coverage can change from year to year.

She said picking a plan can be complicated, but help is available.

“Please know that here in Pennsylvania, there’s an organization called PA MEDI that’s funded by the federal government,” Grossi said. “It’s free counseling available to you. And these counselors will go over all the different Medicare options available, and help you make the choice that’s best for you.”

Many insurers offer Medicare Advantage plans, which typically cost more than the basic Medicare supplement plan because of their added benefits. People who enroll in Medicare choose a supplement or an Advantage plan to help cover the expenses Medicare does not cover.

Grossi added some of the Medicare Advantage plans include vision, hearing, and dental coverage, plus meals and caregiving services if needed.

Grossi said Medicare will soon be able to negotiate some prices with drug companies, as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to lower prescription costs for people on Medicare and reduce federal spending.

“What’s really important for anybody on Medicare to know is that they won’t be paying more than $35 a month for insulin if they’re taking it,” Grossi said. “Also, what happens starting in 2023, is drug companies get penalized if they increase the price of drugs faster than the rate of inflation.”

She said the $35 monthly insulin price begins in 2023 and will be in place even if a person has met not their Medicare deductible.

Every Medicare plan includes Part A for hospitalization and Part B for doctor’s visits, Grossi said. If drug coverage isn’t included, there are separate plans, known as Part D, to cover prescriptions.

Danielle M. Smith is a producer for Public News Service, where this story first appeared. An award-winning radio journalist/personality with more than a decade of experience in broadcast media, she is a former audio journalist with American Urban Radio Networks and Sheridan Broadcasting Networks who also hosts a weekly community affairs show “Good News” on WGBN (1360 AM/98.9 FM).

Originally published December 05, 2022.

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