Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Alert: Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 7th!

By Emily Anderson

When you turn 65, you get a special seven-month window to enroll in Medicare, consisting of the three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and the three months after your birthday. You also get a special chance to enroll in Medicare if you are under 65, but have a disability. Find out more about Medicare and how to enroll here.

Once you’re signed up, though, you only get a two-month window called “open enrollment” to make changes to that plan. Medicare open enrollment is going on now, and closes on December 7th. If you or your loved one has health insurance through Medicare, this is your chance to make changes to your coverage. For example, you might select a more or less expensive plan, enroll in parts C or D, or change your network to make sure you can see the doctors you like.

Help Enrolling in Medicare

It can be pretty overwhelming to figure out what health insurance is best for you, but thankfully, each state has a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to help you figure it all out. In Allegheny County our SHIP is called APPRISE, though if you live outside the county you can find your SHIP here. APPRISE is an independent benefits counseling agency, meaning that they have no financial interest in which plans you choose. They exist to help you understand the different options out there and make good choices based on your needs.

APPRISE is active year-round and available to help you or your loved one when you hit that magical 65-year mark, but they are especially busy at this time of year. Check out some more information on APPRISE here, or give them a call at (412) 661-1438 to talk to one of their experts.

In addition, the American HealthCare Group is hosting free, impartial Medicare 101 talks throughout the Pittsburgh region. Check here to find a presentation near you, or call Liz Kanche at (412) 818-2328.

Other Healthcare Options

If you are under 65 and don't qualify for Medicare just yet, it is also time to enroll for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment through goes until January 31st, but don’t wait until the last minute! The sooner you start the more time you’ll have to consider your options.