55Plus SHINE: Medicare open enrollment


The Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) for Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) and Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) begins this month, and it is very important to re-evaluate your Medicare options for 2023 during this period. Each year Medicare plans can change premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and the prescription formulary (list of drugs they cover). In addition, Medicare Advantage Plans (HMOs, PPOs) often add and/or drop primary and specialty physicians, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals. Your current plan is required to notify you by Sept. 30 of any changes for the coming year.

If you decide to stay with your current plan, no further action is required. If you switch your Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan during the Open Enrollment Period, it will take effect Jan. 1, 2023. (Please note: This enrollment period may not affect you if you have retiree coverage.)

SHINE appointments fill up quickly, so don’t forget to call your senior center early. The Regional SHINE office is also available to help. If you would like the Regional SHINE office to assist you, please call 508-375-6762 for a telephone appointment. You may also contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227; they are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

This may also be the time of year where you have hit the gap or “doughnut hole,” and your medication costs have increased. Fortunately, there are programs that may be able to assist with these costs. Please call the Regional SHINE office or make an appointment with a SHINE counselor at your local senior center to find out more about these assistance programs.

Remember — don’t wait until it is too late. If you don’t make a change to your Medicare prescription plan during the Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7), you may have to stay with your existing plan for another year. Let SHINE help you navigate through the 2023 plan changes.

Tracey Benson, regional manager for SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone), 508-375-6762, tracey.benson@barnstablecounty.org.