By Ashley Johnson
Medicare open enrollment is now available through December 7 and is effective January 1, 2024. Between now and December, recipients can change drug prescription plans, change a current plan to another or sign up for prescription drug coverage. Open enrollment is the period when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to insurance benefits.
Due to this, everyone with a Medicare Part D prescription drug and/or Medicare Advantage plans should review their coverage. It’s best to look for changes in the monthly cost you pay for your plan, also known as the premium. It’s also good practice to check the cost of each medication you take, as costs may increase or decrease. Plans can also change the drugs covered – the formulary – and the amount of the annual deductible – the amount you must pay before your prescription drug plan begins to pay – so make sure to review these, too.
You may do a self-checkup yourself or get assistance.
Conducting a self-checkup
If you’d like to do it yourself, you will need a computer, your medication list with the names and dosages of your medications and your Medicare card.
1. Go to medicare.gov.
2. Create your “My Medicare” account or log into your Medicare Account.
3. Click on find health and drug plans.
4. Enter the information requested – zip code, preferred pharmacy and medications – to get a list of plans tailored to you.
5. Compare plans by selecting the plans you would like to review and compare.
6. Compare the cost of plan premiums, deductibles and drug costs.
7. If you are satisfied with your current plan, no further action is needed.
8. If you compare plans and find a plan that better meets your needs, you can call the plan or check their website to confirm the information, then switch plans by calling 1-800-Medicare – or 1-800- 633-4227 – to request the switch to your selected plan, or you may enroll in the plan using your My Medicare account.
Assistance in Alexandria
If you would like help you may request assistance online or by mail from Alexandria’s Virginia Insurance and Counseling Program. We provide free, unbiased and personalized counseling. This program is funded by the Administration of Community Living and Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services. We help beneficiaries understand their Medicare plans, options and compare plans so our residents get the best coverage at the lowest cost.
Request assistance online
1. Compile your medication list with the names and dosages of your medications, your Medicare card and access the online form located at www.Alexandriava.gov/Aging.
2. Once the form opens, add your name and email on the log-in screen then click on the “proceed to document” button.
3. Follow the prompts to fill out the online VICAP Medicare information form.
4. When completed, a VICAP counselor will conduct the assessment and suggest the two or three plans that best fit your needs. You will receive your assessment by email or phone call. If you have additional questions, the counselor can review the assessment with you and can help guide you in making the changes.
Request assistance by mail
1. Download, print and complete the VICAP information form from www.alex andriava.gov/aging.
2. Compile your medication list with the names and dosages of your medications and your Medicare card number and effective dates.
3. Mail the completed form to the Alexandria City VICAP office at Division of Aging and Adult Services VICAP, 4850 Mark Center Drive, 9th Floor, Alexandria, 22311.
4. A counselor will conduct the assessment and suggest the two or three plans that best fit your needs. You will receive your assessment by email or phone call. If you have additional questions, the counselor can review the assessment with you and can help guide you in making the changes.
The Alexandria City VICAP program is managed by the Division of Aging and Adult Services. For assistance or more information call 703-746-5999 or visit
The writer is the deputy division chief and long term care coordinator for Alexandria.