BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) It’s an important time of the year to make sure you are fully insured and there is free assistance to make sure you are fully covered. Medicare Part D Open Enrollment is currently underway. This is a plan that covers prescription drugs.

“It’s that time of year where we are reviewing our plans and making sure we are covered for next year,” said Jon Godfread, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner. “It’s really important, it’s critically important to review this on an annual basis because our lives change every year. We have different needs, different diagnoses.”

Godfread explains that Medicare plans are very specific. He said that they are designed to cover certain drugs at certain levels and other drugs outside of the plan’s coverage will cost you more.

“Folks that review these on an annual basis actually save quite a bit of money because they are on the specific plan they need to be on,” said Godfread. “Now is the time to do that. This enrollment is open now. It runs through December 7th. We really encourage people to reach out to us at the Insurance Department to get that help. We offer free and unbiased help.”

Godfread cautions that this enrollment is offered by many different agents and not all of them always have the consumer’s best interests in mind. He said that they may push consumers towards one plan over another and that the suggested plan could be a poor fit for the consumer’s needs.

The Insurance Department provides a free, unbiased, and confidential service called the North Dakota State Health Insurance Assistance Program (ND SHIP) which provides year-round Medicare assistance. Typically, after a short meeting, a counselor will help select or at least narrow down to a couple of different plans based on current medications. After that they let the consumer decide which one fits their needs best.

You can make an appointment with an ND SHIP counselor online. Meetings are also held over the phone by calling 701-328-2440. No walk-ins will be accepted.