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Time short to get the most out of Medicare coverage

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Roz Brown

(Texas News Service) Some 65 million people on Medicare have about six weeks to review and make changes to their health-care plans and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Open Enrollment started this week, and people who miss the December 7 deadline typically must wait a full year before new changes to their health plan are allowed.

Meena Seshamani, director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the coming year offers great news for America's 3 million insulin users.

"Plans cannot charge you more than $35 for a one-month supply of each Medicare 'Part D'-covered insulin that you take," she said, "and for those insulins, plans can't charge you a deductible, either."

1-800-MEDICARE is the number to call for those debating their options, 24 hours a day, including weekends. 

When looking for a health plan, said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare, make sure advocacy is built in for the best result.

"Whether it's a digital interaction or you're calling your health plan to interact," she said, "they're helping you maximize your benefits and services in getting you to the care that you need at the right time."

Seshamani said details about the available Medicare plans can be easily accessed at

"They can put in their prescription drugs, and do a side-by-side comparison of plan coverage, cost and quality rating," she said, "so that they can make an informed choice and feel confident that the choice they're making will be the best fit for them."

She added that more insurers are expanding their mental-health coverage and offering more virtual care options, which gained popularity during the pandemic.