October 10, 2019
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period has arrived for the more than 1.3 million Medicare beneficiaries in Washington.
From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, people on Medicare can:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa.
- Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan if they are on Original Medicare.
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan if they are already on one.
The Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program, which is part of the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, is ready to help with all of these decisions.
Celebrating its 40th year of helping people in Washington state, SHIBA provides free, unbiased and confidential help with Medicare and other health care options to people of all ages and backgrounds.
“I’m very proud of the work our SHIBA volunteers and staff continue to provide to consumers,” said state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Our volunteer advisors can help you compare plans and other information to help you make an informed decision about what Medicare plans work best for you. And if you qualify, they can even help you apply for any programs that'll save you money on Medicare costs.”
Medicare is not one-size-fits-all. Each person’s needs, situation and benefits are different – and that includes spouses, who may have their own Medicare plan. Consider these tips for 2020:
- Plan costs and coverage can change every year, so review and keep all letters and notices your current plan sends you.
- List all of the prescription drugs you take, the doses, and how often you take them. Then, use Medicare's Plan Finder (www.medicare.gov) to compare Part D plans.
- Review the 2020 Medicare & You handbook. You should receive it in the mail by mid-October.
- If you have questions, call SHIBA at 800-562-6900 before you sign up.
- Find a SHIBA workshop near you.
You can schedule a one-on-one counseling appointment with a SHIBA volunteer, Monday through Friday:
- Call our Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with a SHIBA volunteer in your local area.
- Find the phone number for your local SHIBA office.