Take Advantage Of Medicare Changes Now

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You have only until Dec. 31 to switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another. With many insurers changing the details of next year's plans, Robert Hayes of the Medicare Rights Center recommends reconsidering which plan is best for you.

Switching to another plan may help keep costs down or your choice of drugs up, Hayes says. If you stay with what you have, you might end up paying higher premiums, co-payments or deductibles. Or the insurer may no longer pay for a brand-name drug you've been taking.

Making the right choice can be as challenging as signing up for a plan in the first place. But don't despair; below are a few places to get help. Keep in mind that many senior citizens' organizations also offer assistance.

Medicare.gov

A calculator on this Web site looks at the drugs you're taking and where you live, then tells you the likely costs for various plans available in your area.

MedicareInteractive.org

This site is run by the Medicare Rights Center. It has lots of information on whether you should sign up for Medicare's drug insurance program and what to consider if you're already on one.

1-800-MEDICARE

If the Web is not your thing, you can call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.

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