Medicare's open enrollment period for prescription drug plans, known as Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage Plans began Monday and runs through Dec. 7.
Open enrollment gives people with Medicare an opportunity to review their coverage, explore other plans and make changes to their coverage. Changes that aren't made by Dec. 7 have to wait for another year.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner offers these tips:
• Review all letters and notices from your current plan. Costs and coverage can change every year.
• Make a list of current prescription drugs and dosages. Then, use the plan finder at www.medicare.gov to compare Part D plans.
• Review the 2013 "Medicare & You" handbook.
• If you have questions, call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) before signing up.
Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors, known as SHIBA, can also help Medicare clients choose the plan best for them. Call 800-562-6900 to schedule an appointment with a SHIBA volunteer or visit www.insurance.wa.gov/shiba for more information.