For Consumers

Medicare's open enrollment starts Oct. 15

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

October 13, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Medicare’s open enrollment period for prescription drug plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans starts Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. The Washington state Insurance Commissioner’s Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) are available to provide you with help in your local community.

”Many Medicare plans are changing again this year,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Open enrollment is the time to shop for the best plan that meets your needs. Our highly trained SHIBA volunteers throughout the state can help you understand your choices and your rights.”

SHIBA offers free help to people with Medicare questions. “Our unbiased volunteers in your community can answer your questions and help you search for plans online,” said Kreidler.

Before you make your Medicare decision, consider the following tips:

  • Plan costs and coverage will likely change every year, so carefully review all letters and notices from your insurer.
  • Make a list of all current prescription drugs you take, the doses, and how often. Then, use the Medicare Plan Finder ( to compare prescription drug (Part D) plans.
  • Review the 2015 Medicare & You handbook. You should receive it in the mail by mid-October.
  • If you have questions, call a SHIBA volunteer at 800-562-6900 or call 800-MEDICARE (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 800-772-1213 or visit

“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 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:

For help in other languages, call:

  • Spanish, Medicare, 800-633-4227
  • Spanish, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, 866-783-2645
  • Korean, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 800-582-4259
  • Chinese, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 800-582-4218
  • Vietnamese, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 800-582-4336
  • Or ask a trusted friend or relative for help.