December 16, 2010

State insurance department: two weeks left for Medicare open enrollment

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance is reminding Missourians with questions about Medicare prescription drug plans that they have two weeks left in the 2010 open enrollment period. To help consumers answer those questions, the department offers a free counseling program, which can be accessed by phone or in person.

The program, known as CLAIM, has so far assisted more than 6,000 Missourians by phone and in person since Nov. 1. Open enrollment runs from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31. CLAIM, funded by the Department of Insurance and Medicare, offers free, expert assistance to Missourians on Medicare or their loved ones.

CLAIM has also hosted nearly 100 open enrollment events across Missouri this year. Among the consumers helped at these events:

  • A counselor helped a Washington County man save more than $4,000 per year on prescription drugs by simply switching to a different Part D prescription drug plan. The plan he was on no longer covered all of his prescriptions. With a quick search, the counselor was able to find a new plan that will cover all of his medications.
  • An elderly widow from Marion County needed help because she received a notice that her prescription drug plan was increasing to nearly $70 per month in 2011. A counselor worked with her to find a much cheaper plan, and also discovered that the woman qualifies for Extra Help through Social Security, and probably a Medicare Savings Program as well. In addition, the counselor enrolled her in Missouri Rx, the state program that helps lower-income consumers pay for out-of-pocket drug costs.
  • A man from Greene County turning 65 needed help deciding whether to sign up for a Medicare prescription drug plan or stay with his employer's health plan. Working with a counselor, he determined that the employer group health plan would be the best option for him. For his wife, he determined it would be more cost-effective to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan when she turns 65.

I strongly encourage Missouri consumers with Medicare to take advantage of the free services offered by the CLAIM program, said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. Expert counselors will help you find the best plan for your needs, and no one will try to sell you anything.

Consumers can call CLAIM at 800-390-3330 with questions or to set up an appointment. They can also visit