News of the individual market health insurance cost increases has spread across the nation.
"We had one man come in the other day who, because his medication list had changed, no plans were as affordable as his 2016 option," Sheppard said. "It really just depends on the individual -- maybe someone's plan changed and it would be cheaper to switch to a new option. That can be an intimidating process."
A Reuters analysis released this summer found that in the
Those numbers, which represent the most recent figures, brought the total spending on prescription drugs nationwide to
According to the Center, the rapid growth in 2014 was due to increased spending for new medications -- particularly for specialty drugs. Patent expirations and brand-name drug price increases also contributed to the rising cost.
Private health insurance,
Christine Neater, an outreach coordinator for the Flathead agency, said seniors can call 406-758-5730 to set up an appointment for open enrollment
She said in the appointment, a person is expected to bring his or her
"Then they meet with a state health insurance program counselor, and they walk through the Medicare.gov website to compare plans," Neater said. "For a lot of people, it means finding a better plan than what they were on."
But, she added, since the deadline for
Neater also said the agency provides a benefits checkup on people who arrive for enrollment advice.
"Often, people on
Neater said while benefits checkups are offered year-round, it's automatically included in an open-enrollment counseling appointment.
Sheppard said the
"Every year, the carriers of the plans can change what's covered and their prices -- it's so important that people review their plan," she said. "Or a person's medical situation or financial situation may have changed, so what worked for them last year won't in 2017."
For more information or to schedule an open-enrollment counseling appointment or a benefits checkup, call 406-758-5730.
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