Recipients have two months to consider options available

As the weather gets cooler and lines for flu shots form, it’s time to start thinking about 2018 health care options. If you are over 65 or otherwise eligible for Medicare, now is the time to review your coverage and benefits and make decisions about your plan for the coming year. Medicare Open Enrollment begins Sunday, October 15, and ends December 7 for enrollment in 2018 plans.

“Making comparisons about Medicare premiums, coverages and prescriptions across plans can be hard which is why we have a dedicated staff here at the Department of Insurance to help,” says Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. “The Louisiana Senior Health Insurance Information Program staff and volunteers can help Medicare beneficiaries find out if they are getting the best coverage for their needs and if they are eligible for any extra help with premiums.”

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) staff is available to help Louisiana residents over the phone, at the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) and at events throughout the state. During the last fiscal year, SHIIP counselors provided services to more than 50,000 Medicare beneficiaries. SHIIP also has partner organizations all over Louisiana that can help seniors to navigate Medicare. The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) has created a step-by-step guide and video series to help Medicare beneficiaries better understand their Medicare coverage options and benefits.

LDI offers the following tips on preparing for 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment:

Get in the system and build a profile on the Medicare Plan Finder. You can use the Medicare Plan Finder to create a personalized search to help find the right plan for you. You can also share this profile with your family or a SHIIP counselor for help with selecting a plan. Review plans to find the one that fits you. When selecting your Medicare plan, consider your doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, pharmacies and chronic conditions. Your health needs change every year, so you need to review your coverage every year. Sign up for your plan. Open Enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7 so don’t miss your window to change or select a new plan. See if you qualify for extra help with Medicare costs. There are programs that can help people who are struggling to pay for their prescriptions and health insurance premiums. Contact our SHIIP counselors to see if you’re eligible.

Consumers can contact SHIIP by calling the LDI at 1-800-259-5300 or visiting www.ldi.la.gov/SHIIP.