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Medicare Part D Enrollment: Help is Available for North Dakotans

There are 29 different, standalone Medicare Part D prescription plans available to people in North Dakota for 2020. (AdobeStock)
There are 29 different, standalone Medicare Part D prescription plans available to people in North Dakota for 2020. (AdobeStock)
October 7, 2019

BISMARCK, N. D. – It's almost time for the tens of thousands of North Dakotans with Medicare Part D plans to review their annual coverage. The open enrollment for Part D prescription plans starts in one week, on Oct. 15.

AARP North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig encourages all Medicare beneficiaries to review the annual Notice of Change information sent by their insurer and evaluate their options for 2020, including people who are happy with their current coverage.

"You might find out that you're paying too much for your medications," Askvig explains. "You might find out that the one your on is still very good for you and will continue to be so. But you don't know unless you take a step back and evaluate it, and make sure that you know what's going to work best for you going forward."

There are 29 standalone Part D prescription plans available in North Dakota in 2020, and open enrollment runs through Dec. 7.

The North Dakota Insurance Department has trained State Health Insurance counselors, who offer free and unbiased information about Medicare Part D plan options.

Janelle Middlestead, director of the department's Consumer Assistance Division, says their assistance helped beneficiaries save $1.7 million in 2018.

As Middlestead put it, "We're looking at the drug cost changes, the premium changes. It's important that our beneficiaries are looking at what they individually need in order to save on high-cost prescriptions, even if their medication has not changed, or they are not taking any medication."

It's estimated that about 15% of North Dakotans with a Part D prescription drug plan do not review their coverage each year. Middlestead says as a result, they could be paying too much. She suggests attending an upcoming Medicare Part D Annual Enrollment Event.

"We have Grand Forks, Fargo, Valley City, Jamestown, Dickinson, Williston, Minot and Bismarck, and those typically are between Oct. 15th through 25th," she says. "Each day, we're in a different city, assisting those individuals enroll in a Part D drug plan."

She says those who cannot attend an enrollment event can call 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) or visit Medicare.gov to review plan options.

Disclosure: AARP North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - ND