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Medicare deadline is approaching
Open enrollment ends Dec. 7
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Only a few days remain for Medicare enrollees to make choices about their benefits for next year.

Dec. 7 is the last day of Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, when decisions can be made about health and prescription coverage for 2016.

During annual open enrollment, persons enrolled in Medicare have a number of choices regarding their prescription coverage and health plan.  They can renew with their current plan, change to a new plan, join for the first time, or disenroll from all coverage.

Beneficiaries with non-Medicare coverage, such as SeniorCare, veterans or employment-based plans, may also need to review their coverage for 2016 to see if it still meets their needs.

According to Shelley Matson, the Elder Benefit Specialist for Vernon County, there are more than 35 plan options available to Vernon County recipients.  “This variety allows each person to customize their health care coverage to best fit both their health needs and their budget,” said Matson.

Medicare beneficiaries received a large booklet titled “Medicare and You 2016” this fall, which provided information on changes in all aspects of Medicare for next year.   This booklet also included lists of the drug and health plans available.  Each person also received a notice from their current plan in early October announcing the plan’s changes for 2016.

For assistance with health care choices, contact Medicare 24 hours a day at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), including weekends.  Medicare has also provides a plan comparison tool and enrollment on their website at

Assistance may also be available in one of the few remaining appointments from each county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center.   The regional Aging & Disability Resource Center serving Vernon, LaCrosse, Monroe and Jackson counties can be reached at 1-800-500-3910.  The direct phone number for the Vernon County location is 608-637-5397.