Open enrollment for Medicare every year is October 15 to December 7th . Whether you are new to Medicare or already enrolled, there is a great resource to help you choose the plan most suitable to you.
You can choose the original Medicare which includes Parts A, B & D; a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or can add a Medigap plan. Choosing a plan that covers your current medications and health care providers is important. Often it is an array of choices and the plan you currently have may not be the best one for you next year.
If you have moved, added medications, or changed your health care provider, it may not be as easy as staying on the current plan. Often, it is hard to decide knowing you are locked in for another year.
There is help and it is FREE!
Each state has a federally funded program called the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). This program provides health insurance counselling to seniors eligible for Medicare. The program is staffed by highly trained counsellors, many of them volunteers. They are local, talk to you one-on-one and may be able to meet you face-to- face.
It may be called SHIP in your state, or HICAP or SHIBA or something else entirely. Whatever the name, it is a great free, unbiased resource. They do not sell insurance – instead they are knowledgeable about the Medicare plans in your geographical region and the best plan for you given your medical needs and financial resources.
To find the name and contact information of the organization in your state go to medicarehelp.org. Take control of your choices and use the resources available to help you become a more informed financial and insurance consumer.