55Plus: SHINE News

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Open Enrollment 2021 and your Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone program

By Sept. 30, each Medicare beneficiary should have received an annual notice of coverage, which included important information regarding Medicare costs and benefits. You can compare your Medicare benefits and health insurance options at no cost with your local SHINE counselor. A visit or phone call with a certified SHINE volunteer may reduce your out-of-pocket medical and/or prescription drug costs. In addition, meeting with your SHINE counselor during open enrollment can help you identify public programs that can help with premiums, copayments, and health coverage based on income and assets.

Open enrollment is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, and state-certified SHINE counselors are available at your senior center by appointment to help you understand health care coverage, review cost increases, and find out what’s new with Medicare.

SHINE appointments fill up fast during this busy period, so contact your local senior center to avoid making last-minute decisions or staying in a plan that no longer works for you. Appointments may be in person, using current COVID19 safety protocols, over the phone, or by Microsoft Teams (Regional Office).

Plan to have the following information available for your SHINE appointment:

  1. Medicare A/B card
  2. Medigap or Medicare Advantage Card
  3. Prescription Drug Plan member card (if you have a Part D plan)
  4. List of medications and dosage, which can be obtained from your local pharmacy
  5. My Medicare account username and password (if you have an account created) — this will save time, as all medications and dosage information are stored, and can be updated.

For those who prefer to view Medicare plan choices and costs online, please visit medicare.gov, then click on find a provider and click on the health and drug plan tab.

Helpful telephone numbers and websites:

  • Social Security: ssa.gov, 1-800-772-1213