Open enrollment for Medicare ends Dec. 7.

As open enrollment for Medicare health and drug plans begins today (Thursday), Texas County Memorial Hospital is again offering aid to area residents.

Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, said Medicare coverage can be very confusing for the elderly population. 

“Anyone in the market for supplemental Medicare coverage should contact his or her healthcare provider prior to purchasing the coverage,” Murray said. “Ask your healthcare provider if they accept the insurance you plan to purchase.”

Every year between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, Medicare recipients must decide if their current coverage will continue to meet their needs through the upcoming year. Changes must be made by Dec. 7 to be effective in 2016.

The prescription drug coverage plan that is part of Medicare coverage can cause confusion. All Medicare recipients are required to sign up for a prescription drug coverage plan, which is known as “Medicare Part D.” Due to the required Medicare Part D coverage, many seniors find themselves looking at various insurance options. 

Because Medicare covers about 55 percent of the patients seen at Texas County Memorial Hospital, TCMH offers to help area residents in the enrollment process, particularly with Medicare Part D.

Murray cautioned that some enrollees have been told that TCMH accepts certain insurance, but the information is incorrect.

“Before signing up for anything, please make sure the insurance is accepted by your healthcare provider,” Murray said.

Additionally, enrollees shouldn’t sign anything without knowing exactly what they are signing for. Copies of any signed papers should be obtained and retained by enrollees, too.

Anita Kuhn, controller at TCMH, is available to consult at no charge with area residents until Dec. 7 each year. Kuhn will assist those interested in re-enrolling in Medicare Part A and B, if they left it for a Medicare Advantage Plan. She also can assist in determining the best Medicare Part D coverage for each individual.

For a consultation appointment, contact Kuhn at 417-967-1277.

If TCMH is a person’s hospital of choice, information about the insurance carriers they contract with can be obtained by calling the hospital’s business office at 417-967-1298.

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