SEATTLE, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- As the annual election period for Medicare Part D nears, Regence is ramping up its efforts to educate Medicare beneficiaries about their options with the new prescription drug benefit program. The annual election period runs from November 15 to December 31, 2006. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about their Medicare Part D options, sign up for the first time or switch to a new plan. Regence will begin conducting a series of free seminars throughout Oregon from October through December to help Medicare beneficiaries learn about their Medicare Part D options. The seminars are a "one stop shop" where Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about the prescription drug benefit, have their questions answered and receive assistance with enrollment. "Regence is committed to reaching out to Medicare beneficiaries one on one to help them understand their options and help them choose the plan that best suits their needs," said Larry Loo, director of Consumer Marketing for Regence. "We are based in the community, which allows us to provide Medicare beneficiaries with the personal attention they need to make the choice that's right for them." Prescription medications are a key driver of rising health care costs, Loo said, and Part D is the only federal program that saves people money on their medications. Medicare beneficiaries may choose Part D as a standalone plan or they may pair it with a MedAdvantage plan for a simplified benefit that covers both their medical and prescription costs. Regence's comprehensive seminars will help Medicare beneficiaries sort through these options to decide which one might be right for them. The annual election period offers those Medicare beneficiaries who are have just become eligible for Medicare Part D or those who are looking to switch plans an opportunity to do so without incurring a penalty. "This is a great opportunity to explore your options. We hope the Medicare beneficiaries in our community will take advantage of this opportunity to consider their options, whether they are new to Medicare Part D or looking to switch to a different plan," Loo noted. Regence will hold educational seminars throughout Washington from October to December. Some upcoming seminars include, but are not limited to, the following: Bothell Denny's Restaurant (Canyon Park) 22833 Bothell Hwy, SE Thursday, Oct. 26, 2 - 4 p.m. Seattle Marie Callender's (Northgate) 9538 1st Ave NE Wednesday, Oct. 25, 9 - 11 a.m. Tacoma Regence BlueShield Office/Tacoma 1501 Market Street Wednesday, Oct. 25, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Additional seminars are planned for Washington through December. Registration is required. Medicare beneficiaries may call 1-888-REGENCE (1-888-734-3623) or visit www.wa.regence.com for more information or to register for a seminar. About Regence BlueShield Regence BlueShield is a leading health plan in Washington and provides health-care coverage to more than 1 million members. Regence BlueShield is part of The Regence Group, the largest affiliation of health plans in the northwest and intermountain states, collectively covering nearly three million people. Regence and its affiliates are not-for-profit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Nearly one in three Americans has health care coverage through Blue Plans. For more information, visit www.wa.regence.com .
SOURCE Regence BlueShield