2024 Medicare open enrollment: Here’s how to get free unbiased help

Oct 12, 2023, 11:41 AM | Updated: Oct 17, 2023, 6:26 am


Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. (WA OIC)


SPONSORED – Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. This is the time to review your current Medicare coverage and decide if there are better coverage options for you based on changes to your current plans, your budget, and your health needs.

What Does Medicare Open Enrollment Mean? It means during this time, people eligible for Medicare can:

• Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa.
• Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, if you’re on Original Medicare.
• Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.

The Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with all of these decisions. Your local SHIBA advisors are ready to provide one-on-one counseling appointments over the phone or through online video, and some locations are offering face-to-face counseling.

SHIBA provides free, unbiased, and confidential help with Medicare and other healthcare options to people of all ages and backgrounds across our state.

“Navigating Medicare plan options can be overwhelming,” says Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Our SHIBA volunteer advisors and staff provide consumers with a valuable service. They can help you compare plans for 2024 and other information to help you make an informed decision about what Medicare plans work best for your personal situation.”

Medicare is not a one-size fits all program. Each person’s needs, situation, and benefits are different – and that includes spouses who may have their own unique Medicare plan. So, before you make a final decision, consider these tips:

• Plan costs and coverage can change every year, so review and keep all letters and notices your current plan sends you.
• List all of the current prescription drugs you take, the doses and how often. Then, use the Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov to compare Part D plans.
• Review the 2024 Medicare & You handbook. You should receive it in the mail by mid-October.
• If you have questions, call SHIBA at 1-800-562-6900 before you sign up.
• Attend an online SHIBA webinar – check out our online events calendar.

To schedule your counseling appointment with a SHIBA volunteer, Monday through Friday:

Find the phone number of the local SHIBA office near you.
• Contact us online at www.insurance.wa.gov/contact-washington-state-shiba-program
• Call us at 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with a SHIBA volunteer in your area.

Watch our Medicare videos on YouTube:

SHIBA helps with Medicare choices
Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage plans
Deceptive marketing practices and Medicare health plans


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