Alaskans age 65 and older who are interested in getting prescription drug coverage through the Medicare Part D program should sign up during the annual open enrollment, Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

Even seniors who are happy with their Medicare prescription plans are encouraged to review the new options introduced each year. A new plan may be more cost effective, or the shopper's medication needs may have changed, and be better met by a different plan.

For help comparing the plans available in Alaska, call staff at the Senior Information Office and their statewide network of Medicare counselors at 1-800-478-6065, toll-free statewide. The office is part of the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disabilities Services.

People are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to avoid delays in January.

Medicare recipients who do not sign up the first time they are eligible are charged permanent late-enrollment fees. The exceptions are people who get both Medicare and Medicaid, and people who have health care coverage that is as good as or better than Medicare.

For more information, call the Senior Information Office, 1-800-478-6065, or contact Medicare at 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227), or www.medicare.

State of Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services

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