Now until December seventh is annual open enrollment. If you’re enrolled in Part D, Medicare’s drug coverage, you have the chance to either switch or stick with that insurance.

Karen Wells and her husband visited Mercy Hospital Joplin Friday to speak with Claim, the Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program about being enrolled in Part D, Medicare’s drug coverage.

“Confused, cause there’s so many plans and I work in the health care field, but still it’s all like Greek to me. So she helped to dispel a little bit of that and told me how they’ll use a computer and input a lot of our data and tell us which plans will probably be best for us,” Wells says.

Experts say from year to year, coverage changes, which means providers may not carry the same prescription drugs or the cost of coverage may increase. And it can get very confusing for the average person.

“We can’t imagine someone that doesn’t deal with this all the time to even understand it and the problem being if they don’t understand it and they don’t make necessary changes now, they’re in it for a year, so they can be out a lot of money simply from one little mistake,” Stacy Childs, Claim Missouri Regional Liaison Trainer for the Southwest District of Missouri.

The average Medicare enrollee saved $190 annually on their premiums and lowered their out-of-pocket expenses by $400 when they switched. Childs says she’s helped clients save more than $1,600, but not everyone makes the switch. 

“I told her we’d be glad to check it and she said ‘No, I like my Part D’ and I said that’s great, but are you completely, ‘I don’t even want to talk about it’ and we can’t do anything. We only encourage them to allow us to look for them. They don’t have to sign up, they don’t have to do anything with us,” Childs says.

Wells says she now feels confident about her coverage.

“You know, I don’t have a lot of health concerns now, but I said what if this comes up in the future, so she did answer those questions about things that might occur,” she says.

Childs says you don’t have to change your plan, but it’s good to look into other options just in case.

Open enrollment began on October 15 and lasts through December 7.

For a list of those locations go to