Open enrollment period
The Medicare enrollment period is now open and runs for the next seven weeks. Each year during the open enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to compare and evaluate their current plan and make changes as necessary. By comparing plans, Medicare beneficiaries can save money and ensure their 2018 plan is best suited to meet their needs.
The open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and all changes must be made by Dec. 7 to ensure coverage begins without interruption Jan. 1.
“Comparing Part D plans annually is imperative to ensure the Medicare beneficiary has the best coverage for their prescription needs,” North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said. “The staff from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, are available to help over the phone or in person in all 100 counties in North Carolina.”
SHIIP is a division of the N.C. Department of Insurance and offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues. In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries, SHIIP counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs.
Here are some of the ways to review and compare plans available for 2018:
- Get one-on-one help from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-855-408-1212, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beneficiaries can also request in-person assistance in their home county.
- Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare current coverage and enroll in a new plan if changes are needed.
- Review the Medicare & You handbook, which was mailed to beneficiaries in September.
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
For more information, call 1-855-408-1212 or visit www.ncshiip.com.