WV residents can get help navigating Medicare open enrollment

Nadia Ramlagan

With just a few weeks left until the end of Medicare open enrollment, experts in West Virginia say now is the time to compare current coverage to next year’s plan, and make changes to avoid large out-of-pocket expenses.

Kimberly Taylor-Newsome, state program director for the West Virginia Aging and Disability Resource Center, said Medicare ‘Part D’ and Medicare Advantage plan details often change every year, so individuals should not assume they can rely on the same benefits.

“They can change their drug formularies, they change premiums, they can change deductible amounts, they can change the pharmacies that they work with,” Taylor-Newsome outlined.

Taylor-Newsome pointed out resource counselors are available through the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center who can help people carefully review current coverage and compare plans. They can also check to see if people qualify for other assistance to help save them money. Counselors can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 866-981-2372.

At a time when many of the state’s older residents are struggling financially with inflation, Taylor-Newsome added not selecting the right plan could lead to more people foregoing needed medications and care.

“If you don’t maintain your health, if you can’t get your medications and the medical care that you need, you can’t care for that other person,” Taylor-Newsome stressed.

A recent KFF survey found people with Medicare are more satisfied with their health coverage compared to adults with other types of insurance. But cost concerns for monthly premiums and prescription drugs remain high, especially among people with disabilities who rely on the program.