Earlier and expanded open enrollment period for Medicare

Medicare Part D Enrollment period begins Oct. 15

Starting this year, Medicare’s open enrollment period for prescription drug plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans takes place Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

The Affordable Care Act moved and expanded the annual enrollment period a week, giving people additional time to consider their choices.  “The new enrollment time allows Medicare consumers to avoid conducting business during the holiday season and increases their time to compare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Don’t miss this opportunity to review your options. Our Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program can help you understand your choices.”

SHIBA helps people answer questions and evaluate plans. “Our trained volunteers in your community can help answer your questions and search for plans online,” said Marijean Holland, SHIBA Program Manager.  “We also offer assistance with Original Medicare and other health plans, and provide free, unbiased information to help you decide.”

Before you make your decision, consider the following tips:

  • Plan costs and coverage can change every year, so carefully review all letters and notices from your current plan.
  • Make a list of all current prescription drugs you take, the doses, and how often.  Then, use the Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov to compare Part D plans.
  • Review the 2012 Medicare & You handbook. You should have received it in September.
  • If you have questions, call 1-800- MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) before you sign up.
  • If you have limited income and need help paying for prescription drugs, check out Medicare’s “Extra Help” program.  To see if you qualify, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or go to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on Medicare.

“Whatever you do, don’t wait until the end of the enrollment period to get help,” added Kreidler. “Call our Insurance Consumer Hotline today at 1-800-562-6900 and ask to schedule an appointment with a SHIBA volunteer in your area.”

To attend a free Medicare workshop in your local area, go to:  http://www.insurance.wa.gov/shiba/shiba_contacting.shtml

For help in other languages, call:

  • Spanish, Medicare, 1-800-633-4227
  • Spanish, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, 1-866-783-2645
  • Korean, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 1-800-582-4259
  • Chinese, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 1-800-582-4218
  • Vietnamese, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 1-800-582-4336

Individuals in Pierce County can contact Aging Disability Resource Center for help:

  • English: (253) 798-4600
  • Khmer: (253) 798-4550
  • Russian: (253) 798-4552
  • Spanish: (253) 798-4553
  • Vietnamese: (253) 798-4554