Recent Press Releases

Senator John Thune today issued the following release regarding the end of the open season for enrollment in a Medicare prescription drug plan:

Since November 15, new Medicare beneficiaries in South Dakota have had the option of enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan and those currently enrolled in a plan have had the option of changing their prescription drug coverage. Medicare beneficiaries satisfied with their current coverage will not have to take any action during the open enrollment period. Enrollment ends on December 31.

"I would encourage all seniors to take advantage of the open enrollment period before it ends on December 31st," said Thune. "There are some changes in the Medicare prescription drug plans offered in South Dakota for 2007, so I would ask Medicare beneficiaries to carefully weigh their options."

Approximately 98,000 Medicare beneficiaries in South Dakota are currently enrolled in a prescription drug plan. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency which oversees the Medicare program, seniors enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans are saving an average of $1,200 per year on their prescription drug costs.

South Dakota Medicare beneficiaries will also have greater access to Medicare Advantage health plans. Medicare Advantage plans are similar to private health insurance plans and cover all Medicare benefits including physician visits, hospital stays and prescription drugs.

Several organizations are ready to help Medicare beneficiaries in South Dakota find prescription drug coverage that is right for them. South Dakota seniors can contact the following organizations to help them enroll.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)
1-800-MEDICARE or 1-800-633-4227 or

Senior Health Information and Insurance Education (SHIINE)

South Dakota Social Security Offices (for questions about extra help for people with limited incomes)

South Dakota Department of Social Services