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29 November 2011

Rupp: Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Concludes Soon

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Missourians are in preparation mode for the December holidays. Along with shopping for gifts, preparing delicious meals, and putting up decorations, many will participate in the Medicare Part D open enrollment period, which ends next week on Wednesday, Dec. 7. I hope you will be sure to set some time aside to address this important health care matter.

Medicare Part D is a helpful program that can assist citizens in paying for prescription drugs. The program is newer in Medicare, having been signed into law in 2003 as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act. On Jan. 1, 2006, the prescription drug benefits began, with coverage offering:
  • Prescription drug coverage for people with Medicare, regardless of income and resources, health status, or current prescription expenses;
  • Brand name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies convenient to beneficiaries; and
  • Protection for those who have especially high drug costs or from unexpected prescription drug bills in the future.
    (Please visit to learn more about Medicare Part D.)
Throughout the open enrollment period, helpful volunteers from Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri, or CLAIM, have been available to assist Missourians with their Medicare questions. CLAIM has been Missouri’s official State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) since 1993 and is a nonprofit organization, offering confidential services to people in our state without charge. I understand that health care matters are confusing, so I encourage you to take advantage of CLAIM services.

While going through the steps of Medicare Part D open enrollment, please be aware of possible scams. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to take advantage of Missouri seniors, and so I urge my constituents to use caution while enrolling in or changing Medicare plans. In an article published by Missourinet, a list highlights a number of ways individuals try to scam Missourians, including:
  • Claiming to represent or be endorsed by Medicare.
  • Soliciting door-to-door.
  • Soliciting using unwanted e-mails, text messages, or voice mails.
  • Approaching people in common areas, like parking lots, hallways, and sidewalks.
  • Pitching products in health care settings, like hospital waiting areas, exam rooms, patient rooms, and pharmacy counters.
  • Setting up an appointment to discuss Medicare, and then sell unrelated products, such as life insurance or annuities.
If you have any doubts during the open enrollment process or are unsure about a possible scam, please don’t hesitate to speak to a CLAIM volunteer. To learn more about open enrollment and CLAIM, please visit or call 800-390-3330. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office if I can be of any assistance to you. Thank you and stay safe.

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