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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 9:48 pm | Fair 53º


Medicare Open Enrollment to Begin Oct. 15

Medicare beneficiaries have an annual open enrollment period between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 to review 2016 Part D prescription drug plans and consider Medicare Advantage plan options.  

"Each year plans, prices and formularies change," stated Barry Jay Marks, Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council chair. "It is important for Medicare beneficiaries to review the information sent by their current Plan, and then it is important to consider options."

In 2016, there will be 28 Prescription Drug Part D Plans available in California, but several current plans will be discontinued. Local availability of Medicare Advantage Plans will also change in 2016, and the Part B monthly premium and Income Related Monthly Adjustments will both see increases.

"Due to the important decisions that need to be considered at this time, HICAP has scheduled numerous community education presentations to explain these changes," Marks said. "Consider contacting HICAP to attend a presentation."

HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program) provides individual counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. They act as an unbiased source for understanding potential impacts of benefit changes, and their free services can be set up by appointment or by attending a presentation.

"Additionally, HICAP can help by preparing a comparison of your current Plan and other 2016 Prescription Drug Part D Plans," Marks said. "This free service is completed by accessing the Medicare.gov website. Through this service, you can receive detailed information about the least expensive Prescription Drug Part D Plans to include your medications."

Call 800.434.0222 or 805.928.5663, go the website or email [email protected] to schedule an individual appointment or register for a community education presentation in a community near you.

HICAP serves Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties as a program of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.  

HICAP does not sell anything, but provides free and unbiased information and counseling about Medicare so beneficiaries can make informed decisions. 

The program is supported in whole or in part through a grant from the Administration for Community Living with support from the Area Agency on Aging and partial funding by the California Department of Aging.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman represents the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.


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