Medicare Part D open enrollment: Time to shop

What’s new for Medicare Prescription Drug coverage for 2016? There will be 19 Medicare Prescription Drug Plans available (versus 24 in 2015). No Medicare Advantage Plans will be available; 54 percent of Alaskans are eligible for Extra Help but not all have taken advantage of the great savings it affords.

The lowest monthly premium for a prescription drug plan will be $18.40. The highest will be $89.20. People who reach the “donut hole” in the drug benefit will save 55 percent on covered brand name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs.

A chart with details of each plan, laid out for easy comparison, is available from our office. Call one of the phone numbers below or visit

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare is October 15 through December 7, 2015. This is the ideal time to evaluate your Medicare Prescription Drug plan costs and coverage. You can switch into a different plan that may work better for you in 2016 during this timeframe.

The Alaska Medicare Information Office is ready, willing and able to assist Medicare beneficiaries with this confusing process.

(Please note that if you have prescription coverage through AlaskaCare, Federal Retirement, Teamsters, etc., that is not the same as Medicare Prescription coverage and you do not need to review coverage each year.)

If you or someone you know needs our help, please gather up your red, white and blue MEDICARE card and be prepared to provide us with the names and dosages of all prescription medications that you take regularly. We will ask for your preferred pharmacy as well as whether you need to have your prescriptions delivered or if you’d like to use mail order delivery to save some money.

If you have both Medicare and Medicaid you must have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (also known as Part D). And if you use tribal health services, the tribal facility will also appreciate having your insurance information for reimbursement purposes.

We provide assistance to Alaskans on all things related to Medicare. We are not biased towards any pharmacy or supplier and will give you straight answers. Everything you discuss with us is strictly confidential and we provide you with options such as: we can click a button on the computer and facilitate your enrollment into a prescription drug plan OR we can give you a phone number to call on your own and do your own enrollment by phone. We are Alaskans helping Alaskans, competent in Medicare problem-solving. Give a call to your nearest Medicare Counseling office for assistance:

Anchorage 770-2027

Fairbanks 479-7940

Juneau 523-4431

Kenai 235-7911

Wasilla 373-3652

Judith Bendersky, MPH Gerontologist, manages the Alaska Medicare Information Office. Contact the information office toll-free statewide at 1-800-478-6065