The deadline for Medicare Part D sign up was June 30, but in November, seniors will have the opportunity to decide if their current plan is right for them and change to a different plan if they choose.

Council on Aging President Emily Haney said that seniors should use this time between now and November to gain as much education as they can about their plan and other plans they might be considering.

Leading up to the June 30 deadline, one and possibly two companies were going door-to-door selling the new Advantage –or Medicare C—to seniors. Haney said that several seniors enrolled in the Advantage plan, but then contacted her office wanting to know how to get out of it when it didn’t meet their needs.

Haney said most seniors in this area are adequately covered by Medicare A and B. The Advantage plan bundles Medicare A, B and D, but medical bills go to the Advantage plan and not Medicare. Medical coverage is then through the insurance company selling the plan. Advantage plans, while not considered HMOs, do specify a list of doctors and hospitals that clients may use.

Athens Police Capt. Marty Bruce said that after receiving several inquiries about the sales people, his department looked into the company.

“They are a legitimate company, but what they’re doing is selling this like a Medicare supplement and you end up dropping your regular Medicare, is what we found,” said Bruce.

Haney said seniors could opt out of the Advantage plan through a written request that her office would help them draw up.

“You have to know the right channels,” said Haney. “We’ve had more people request to get out of then than to get into them. However, we know one lady who has an Advantage plan and is happy with it.”

Haney advised seniors that if they are approached by a sales person to ask to see a list of the doctors and hospitals that are covered.

“It’s always best to make an informed decision and remember the Council on Aging is always there to help,” she said.

Contact the Council on Aging at 233-6412.

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