Post Content

By Director of the SHINE Program for the Executive Office of Elder Affairs Cynthia Phillips

Most Medicare beneficiaries have just one opportunity a year to evaluate and change their coverage—and this year it's coming earlier, from October 15th to December 7th.  Every year, the “open-enrollment” period allows seniors and others on Medicare to change their part D (prescription-drug) coverage, enroll or change enrollment in a Medicare Advantage program, such as an HMO or PPO plan, and generally reevaluate their healthcare package. Many seniors disregard this opportunity and enroll in the same plans they did the year before, assuming that as long as a plan has not changed dramatically, there is no need to switch.  People should review their plans, however, because even if their plans have not changed, their needs may have. If a Medicare beneficiary has been prescribed new medications or dropped old ones, there may be a new (and perhaps less expensive) part D plan that suits him or her better.

           While the open enrollment period offers an opportunity for reevaluation, it can also be a confusing time for beneficiaries. Plans inundate seniors with information and those who don’t know the system can end up drowning in a sea of questions and paper.  That’s why the Serving Health Information Needs of Elders (SHINE) program will be training “Part D Enrollment Counselors” to help seniors make informed enrollment decisions. The counselors will have a role similar to that of SHINE counselors, who are state-certified guides to health insurance options, but they are focused specifically on Part D. Volunteer SHINE counselors and Part D counselors can sit down with beneficiaries to explain their benefits giving them the options they need to make the choice that works for them. SHINE counselors are conversant in the in the language of the enrollment process, which means they can help find solutions to complex problems by drawing on diverse resources within the healthcare finance network. Anyone interested in becoming a SHINE counselor or Part D Specialist should contact the SHINE program via EOEA’s hotline, 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636; press #3).

 

 

Written By:

Recent Posts

MCB Celebrates White Cane Safety Day posted on Nov 18

MCB Celebrates White Cane Safety Day

Eddie Carreiro doesn’t allow his vision loss to stop him from doing anything. He credits his “I can attitude” as the biggest reason for his adjustment to losing his vision. Eddie also his Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) played a significant role in getting   …Continue Reading MCB Celebrates White Cane Safety Day

DDS Honors Its Veterans posted on Nov 10

DDS Honors Its Veterans

On November 9th, DDS held its inaugural DDS Veterans event to honor and respect our Veteran co-workers, and also to learn how to make DDS a more supportive workplace for them. This was attended by many DDS staff who are also Veterans, along with our   …Continue Reading DDS Honors Its Veterans

DTA Clients Overcome Life’s Challenges and Share Stories of Perseverance posted on Nov 4

DTA Clients Overcome Life’s Challenges and Share Stories of Perseverance

Last week in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House more than 100 Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) clients were honored by Commissioner Jeff McCue for taking a positive step on their own personal path to self-sufficiency. These individuals have all been served by   …Continue Reading DTA Clients Overcome Life’s Challenges and Share Stories of Perseverance