By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
The state Department of Aging is reminding beneficiaries of the Medicare open enrollment period starting Tuesday, Oct. 15, and continuing through Saturday, Dec. 7. During this time, you may make changes to your current Medicare coverage, as well as join, switch or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage plans.
Here are four important things to keep in mind:
• Any change you make during Fall Open Enrollment will take effect January 1.
• In most cases, Fall Open Enrollment is the only time you can pick a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
• If you have Medicare Advantage, you can also switch to Original Medicare. To get drug coverage, you should also join a Part D plan.
• Depending on where you live, you may be able to buy a Medigap policy, which helps pay Original Medicare costs. Limitations apply as to who can buy a Medigap and when.
Pennsylvania offers a free health insurance counseling program, APPRISE, through the local Area Agency on Aging. APPRISE counselors are specially trained staff and volunteers who can provide objective, easy-to-understand information at no cost to you. They can help you understand Medicare eligibility, enrollment, financial assistance programs and coverage options, among other Medicare-related topics.
For more information, contact the local Area Agency on Aging or call the toll-free APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, which is available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information is also available here