HELENA – The 2018 Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and the Rocky Mountain Development Council (RMDC) are reminding people to be aware of the new changes this year.
People can receive free assistance with their Medicare application through the Montana State Health insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
The Montana SHIP is an independent and confidential assistance program funded by The Administration on Community Living and operated through Area Agencies on Aging across the state.
RMDC operates Area IV and their SHIP/I&A staff provided 1,520 consolations in 2017.
RMDC staff says of the more significant changes this year is the new Medicare card, which no longer has an individual’s social security number listed on it.
SHIP/I&A counselor Maria Murphy encourage people to take a good look at their plans and their options.
“There are new plans and as always your plan can change quite a bit from one year to the next,” said Murphy. “And just because you have the information from your plan doesn’t mean you have all the information you need about other plans that are available.”
Montana Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) would also like to caution residents that scammers may try to steal new Medicare numbers this year.
SMP advises people to protect their new cards like a credit card.
Medicare representatives will never call your phone or visit your home. They will only send information through the U.S. Postal Service.
Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease.
For more information about Medicare including enrollment click here.
If a person needs assistance with Medicare or needs to report Medicare fraud they should call 1-800-551-3191.
-John Riley reporting for MTN News