It is time for all seniors to have a checkup on their Medicare Part D plans. I would like to encourage all seniors to look at their Medicare Part D plans and make sure that what they have is the best for their needs.

Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 is open enrollment. During this period, you can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan if you missed a prior enrollment deadline or, if you already have a Part D plan, it is your opportunity to change your current plan.

The first step is to review the changes taking place in your current plan for 2021 -- the premium, the amount you will pay each time you fill a prescription, if your pharmacy is in the plan's network, and if your drugs are still covered by your plan and in the same tier.

There is a big change next year for many insulin medications. Medicare will have an Insulin Savings Model so those on insulin should check to make sure their current plan accepts it.

If your current plan will still be the best one for you in 2021, you do not need to do a thing; your enrollment will continue from this year into next.

The best tool to help compare your current plan to other available plans is Medicare's website, This plan allows you to enter your prescriptions and choose your pharmacy to get a comparison of the plans offered in South Dakota based on total out-of-pocket costs. You can enroll in a new plan there if you determine there is a better plan for you.

If you do not have access to a computer and/or want free, confidential and objective assistance, a SHIINE (South Dakota's Senior Health Information and Insurance Education) volunteer is available at the Lake County Extension Office for counseling services. Call 605-256-7603 for an in person or phone appointment.

Barb Sample

SHIINE Counselor

Wentworth, Oct. 13