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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Medicare Monday introduces 2017 prices and benefits

Oct 04, 2016 10:17AM ● By Guest

SPONSORED CONTENT By Eileen Doherty, Colorado Gerontological Society

Each year the federal government makes changes to Medicare. Many beneficiaries are advised to go through the process of determining if they are satisfied with their current coverage with a Medicare Supplement, a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or prescription drug coverage. Those new to Medicare face an even more daunting task.

The Colorado Gerontological Society is sponsoring Medicare Monday sessions in October in 16 locations throughout Colorado. Medicare Monday is an annual workshop designed to help individuals stay better informed and make necessary changes. The program includes information on the changes, updates and requirements for Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.

Open enrollment to change Medicare Advantage Plans and prescription drug coverage starts on October 15 and ends on December 7. Changes made during this time will be effective January 1, 2017.

Medicare advantage plans, benefit changes, co-payments and co-insurance rates in the individual market are available online at

Medicare has announced changes for the 2017 Prescription Drug benefit. The annual deductible will increase to $400 per year. Beneficiaries will pay 25 percent of the cost of prescriptions for the next $3,700, or approximately $825. Individuals who use more than $3,700 per year in drugs will reach the coverage gap (or the donut hole). Beneficiaries will pay 51 percent of the cost of generic prescriptions and 40 percent of the cost of name-brand prescriptions in the donut hole. Individuals whose prescription drug costs exceed $7,425 in 2017 will pay $3.30 for generics and $8.25 for name-brand drugs.

While changes to the formularies are expected and co-payments for drugs that are on the upper tiers are projected to rise, it’s expected that co-payments on the lower-tier drugs will remain stable and/or see relatively low co-payments.

Low-income seniors whose income is less than $1,345 per month ($1,813 per month for couples) from all sources and who have less than $8,780 in assets ($13,930 for couples), excluding the home, car, term-life insurance policy and irremovable burial policy, can sign up for help paying for the Medicare Part B premium. These same individuals are also eligible for assistance paying for prescription drug costs. For help in applying for benefits, call 1-855-293-6911.

Workshops will take place in Grand Junction, Carbondale, Greeley, Alamosa, Colorado Springs, and Denver and the surrounding areas.

The Grand Junction workshop will be from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. October 17 at The Commons of Hilltop. The Carbondale workshop will be from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. October 31 at the Third Street Center.

Call 1-855-880-477 for dates and locations in other areas or visit Counselors are available to help with comparison shopping for prescription drug plans.

Refreshments will be served. If you would like to schedule an individual counseling appointment or to make a reservation for Medicare Monday, call 1-855-880-4777.


Medicare Monday

October 17, 2016 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

The Commons of Hilltop 625 27 1/2 Road, Grand Junction