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Western New Yorkers still have time to enroll in Medicare

Western New Yorkers still have time to enroll in Medicare or make changes to their existing Medicare health and prescription drug plans for 2015, thanks to an extension of the program’s annual open enrollment period because of the recent storms that paralyzed the region.

Although Medicare’s annual open enrollment period ended on Dec. 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the period until further notice for residents of Western New York, Rochester, the Genesee Valley and the Southern Tier.

AARP New York is urging Medicare recipients to review their health and prescription drug plans and make any plan changes as soon as possible; enrollment in a new plan starts the first day of the month after beneficiaries enroll.

AARP recommends Medicare recipients consider the following:

• They can switch Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans, or join a prescription plan if they are in one.

• They should compare monthly premiums, annual deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.

• They should check that their preferred doctors and pharmacies as well as prescription drugs are included

• They can find the quality rating for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.

• And they can make changes by visiting the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan or by calling Medicare at (800) 633-4227 any time. (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048).

For more help, Medicare enrollees can contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (1-800-677-1116) for no-cost health insurance counseling.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com