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Evaluating Your Medicare Benefits

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2018 at 1:19 am

Free, local service helps in reviewing your Medicare plan options for 2019

Did you know that those with Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, drug formularies and which providers and pharmacies are in their networks? If you have been waiting to make changes to your Medicare Prescription Drug or Medicare Advantage plan, wait no more! The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is the time to make any necessary adjustments to your plan to ensure that you have the best coverage complement your health needs for 2019.
Medicare can be a daunting subject for most people and the Open Enrollment Period only runs from Oct. 15, 2018, through Dec. 7, 2018, but you don’t have to go it alone! During this time, lean on experts for advice and utilize a local, valuable resource: the SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program.
SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated locally through Elder Options. Specially-trained SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs. The SHINE mission is to provide free and unbiased information about Medicare and Medicaid for beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers. SHINE also educates beneficiaries to protect, detect, and report potential errors, fraud, and abuse with their Medicare coverage. SHINE strongly encourages beneficiaries to be on the lookout for their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), which they should receive from their plan no later than Sept. 30, 2018. Reviewing their benefits and evaluating their health care options each year is vitally important for beneficiaries. Acting quickly can assure a smooth transition into the 2019 benefit year.
To receive help from SHINE, or to review and enroll in a plan, individuals may visit designated SHINE counseling sites, attend enrollment events in their local communities, or contact trained SHINE volunteer counselors at 1-800-262-2243. For a listing of SHINE counseling sites and enrollment events, visit