It’s open enrollment time for Medicare, and Ridgefield’s Social Service Department is prepared to help Ridgefielders make sure they’re signed up for the plan that’s best for them.

“Last year we saved over $45,000 by just looking at prescription plans,” said Karen Gaudian, Ridgefield’s municipal agent for the elderly. “We reviewed plans with about 109 people, and 30 changed their plans.

“Some of those were huge,” she said of the savings found.

The Medicare open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, and the Ridgefield Social Services office is offering free counseling sessions to Ridgefielders.

People can save by just carefully reviewing and changing plans to what’s most advantageous, given their specific circumstances.

“Insurance companies change their plans every year. You need to review yours, too!” say postcards sent out by the town Social Services office.

People’s savings from reviewing their plans were sometimes in the area of $400 a year, Gaudian said, and others saved much more.

She gave the example of a couple — not giving names, of course — where both partners had a variety of medications they took regularly. With help, they found substantial cost savings by changing to plans that matched up well to their needs.

“I think the husband went from $12,000 to $2,000 for the year, and the wife went from $12,000 to $3,300 for the year,” Gaudian said.

“What I want everybody to do — anybody that’s on Medicare that’s over 65 — is to call me and make an appointment,” Gaudian said.

“The purpose is to make sure they have the coverage then need without paying more than they have to.”

Gaudian, as municipal agent for the elderly, also has two free upcoming programs on Medicare issues:

  • Monday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. at Ridgefield Library.
  • Thursday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m. at Founders Hall.

At the programs she will be joined by CHOICES Medicare counseling volunteers who are trained to help people.

“Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans often make changes each year to costs, coverages, and network providers,” a release from Gaudian said. “It is only during open enrollment that covered individuals can change their coverage for the upcoming year to best meet their needs for the coming year.

“One-on-one sessions provide free, confidential counseling, explanation of benefits, and assistance to people with Medicare,” Gaudian said.

“Covered individuals and counselors will use Medicare’s website to find the most economical coverage, taking into account prescriptions, deductibles, co-payments, and expected medical care needs for 2018.”  

For more information or to make an appointment to meet with a CHOICES Medicare counselor, call Karen Gaudian at 203-431-2754 or email municipalagent@ridgefield.org.