Dec. 31 is the last day in enroll in Medicare plan - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Dec. 31 is the last day in enroll in Medicare plan

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By Christy Millweard - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Friday night at midnight is an important deadline for area seniors. It's the end of open enrollment for Medicare.

Open enrollment began on November 15, and ends December 31. Ruth Dockins, with the Southeast Area Agency on Aging is worried seniors don't realize how close the deadline really is.

"Monday is too late," Dockins said.

So far she estimates they have enrolled more than 600 Missourians into Medicare plans during the open enrollment season. But, Dockins is worried about all the people they haven't seen.

"The majority of people do need to change plans every year because the plans change....the last plan that a person joins is the one that they're going to be stuck with for the next year," said Dockins.

The reason she's worried? Usually, the Southeast Area Agency on Aging is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. But tomorrow, it will be closed. So if you haven't already enrolled in a new Medicare plan, you might have to do it via phone or online, by tomorrow at midnight.

The phone number is 1-800-MEDICARE.

The web site, is www.Medicare.gov

"If I were in that situation I certainly wouldn't wait, I wouldn't take any chances because if you're out, you're out," said Dockins.

Dockins says if you need to make changes, you need to have your physical Medicare card with you.

"There's a couple other dates on your Medicare card that you need to know," said Dockins.

Dockins says you also need a list of your medications, the size or milligram amount, and how often you take the medication. She says even if you sign up tonight or tomorrow, the plan will still go into effect Jan. 1. But with that late enrollment, she says there will be a problem.

"For the past couple weeks I've been telling people, now you probably aren't going to get your card by the first of January...and we give them a paper that says Enrollment Request Received and I tell them to hang onto that until they get their card," said Dockins.

Dockins says with that paper, you can still get medications until your card comes. She says next year, the dates will be earlier in the year, from October 15, to December 7 in order to get Medicare cards to people before plans go into effect on January 1.

Dockins says one important thing to note, is the police called Advantra Rx Premiere. She says if you had this plan in 2010, it will end Dec. 31. If you don't enroll in a new plan, she says you will be without one all together. Dockins says this is Advantra Rx Premiere, not Advantra Rx Premiere Plus.

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