Medicare Open Enrollment is coming, be prepared

Submitted by San Juan County SHIBA.

Medicare enrollees have an opportunity every year between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 to review their Medicare Part D drug plans and their Medicare Advantage plans to see if they want to make changes that will be effective in the new year. Medicare beneficiaries can change from one Medigap plan to another at any time during the year.

The San Juan County SHIBA volunteers will be making two Zoom presentations explaining what has changed for Medicare in 2022. Come join us on October 14th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm or October 19th from 10 to 11:30 am. To register for the presentation email or call 360-376-5892. We will need your first and last name and your email address to register you.

Reviewing your coverage during open enrollment is important to make sure that the plans you have will still fit you next year. About half of the people SHIBA volunteers work with wind up making changes to their coverage. These changes occur for many reasons:

• Changes in your medications or your health

• Changes in plan premiums and deductibles

• Changes in drug tiers and pricing

• Changes in whether your pharmacy is in or out of network for the plan

• Changes in whether your pharmacy has preferred or standard pricing

• The introduction of new plan options

This is a free presentation made by trained volunteers from the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program overseen by the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner to provide free, unbiased and confidential counseling assistance in San Juan County. There are federal and state programs available to help people with very low incomes and limited assets pay their Medicare premiums, copays and deductibles.

SHIBA has trained volunteer counselors available on the three major islands in San Juan County. Call the local SHIBA office at 360-376-5892 to schedule your free personal, confidential, unbiased counseling session. In San Juan County, SHIBA is sponsored by the Inter-Island Healthcare Foundation.