Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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October 15, 2012

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Begins Today
Recipients urged to review options

PIERRE, S.D. –The open enrollment period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans is Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2012.

“One of the things we want people to know is that if they have a Medicare Advantage plan the only time they can make changes to their plans is Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2012,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, secretary for the South Dakota Department of Social Services. “All Medicare recipients should take this time to review their current plans and consider whether a change in coverage is necessary for them.”

Medicare Advantage is a health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B coverage (hospital, skilled nursing, home health, hospice, doctors’ care and other outpatient services).

Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage for all people with Medicare; the drug coverage includes both brand name and generic drugs.

Beginning Oct. 15, trained volunteers from the South Dakota Senior Health Information and Insurance Education Program (SHIINE) will offer free assistance to seniors seeking additional Medicare information.

SHIINE volunteers can help seniors compare plans, evaluate their current coverage and fill out paperwork. Seniors taking advantage of the free one-on-one counseling should bring their Medicare card and a current list of medications. The volunteers will use the information to sort through the Medicare Plan Finder and compare coverage options. The Plan Finder can also be accessed from home at

For more information on SHIINE or to meet with a volunteer in your community, call 1-800-536-8197 or contact your Regional Coordinator: