Montana Insurance Officials are reminding Medicare-eligible Montanans that they only have until December 7 to shop for a new Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan for 2017.

Sanjay Talwani, spokesman for Montana Insurance Commissioner, Monica Lindeen, said open enrollment ends on December 7.

“A couple hundred thousand people in Montana are on Medicare, and a very large number of those have Medicare Advantage plans,” Talwani said. “Those are administered by private companies and they complement and improve traditional Medicare A and B plans. One of the companies that have been involved, New West Health Services is withdrawing from both the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare supplement insurance market in Montana.”

Those currently with coverage by New West have been notified that they will have to shop around for a new company.

“Even if you’re already with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pacific Source or any one of the other companies, this is a real good time to take a look at your policy and coverage and determine if you need to make any changes. There are programs like the ‘SHIP’, which stands for the State Health and Insurance Assistance Program that is administered by the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, and they have counselors throughout the state, real humans who will talk to you and help you navigate the system.”

Get more details at the insurance commissioner’s website, or by calling 1-800-332-6148.

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