BISMARCK, N.D. – Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread today announced that the Insurance Department will begin scheduling telephone counseling appointments for Medicare Part D on Monday, Oct. 5, for appointments beginning after Oct. 15. In past years, the Insurance Department hosted Medicare Part D Annual Enrollment Events across the state, however, has moved to counseling Medicare beneficiaries by phone this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The appointments will still provide beneficiaries of all ages with the opportunity to review, compare or shop for coverage options with the assistance of trained, State Health Insurance Counseling (SHIC) volunteer counselors.
“Our SHIC program is one of the most important services the Insurance Department provides North Dakotans, so it was vital that we find a way to continue this service while keeping our counselors and Medicare beneficiaries safe,” Godfread said. “COVID-19 has changed so many aspects of our daily lives and we understand how frustrating that can be. The Insurance Department is committed to making Medicare Open Enrollment less confusing, and we hope that North Dakotans will be patient as we adapt our way of doing business to better serve them.”
Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage health plans or prescription drug plans (Part D) runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2020. It’s just as important for North Dakotans already enrolled in Medicare Part D to review their current coverage during this time as it is for those enrolling for the first time because they can determine what features of coverage matter most to them and shop for plans that meet their needs and fit their budget. For example, changes companies make to their plan’s 2021 formulary (list of approved medications) and the tier assignments may be extremely costly if an individual does not review and make changes to their coverage. Any of the medications covered by a plan in 2020 may not be included in the 2021 formulary; this will result in having to pay full price for the medication.
Individuals who would like to schedule a telephone appointment with a counselor should visit insurance.nd.gov/medicare-part-d-open-enrollment-counseling or call (701) 328-2440. Please only schedule one person per appointment. When scheduling online or calling to make an appointment, please have:
- A current list of prescription medications, including dosages and frequency
- Your Medicare card (if applicable)
- A completed State Health Insurance Counseling (SHIC) Intake Questionnaire (SFN 61886), which can be downloaded at insurance.nd.gov/medicare-part-d-open-enrollment-counseling or a copy may be requested by calling (701) 328-2440
“Although, a majority of our staff and counselors are now working remotely as a result of COVID-19, I want to assure North Dakotans that providing high quality customer service remains our top priority,” Janelle Middlestead, Consumer Assistance Division Director, said. “During this unprecedented time, we are working diligently to adapt to these new circumstances and provide the services beneficiaries have come to expect. We appreciate everyone’s patience at this time and encourage you to visit our website often for the latest information about Open Enrollment.”
For more information, visit insurance.nd.gov or call (701) 328-2440.