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Have Medicare questions?

Open enrollment ends December 7

The open enrollment period for enrolling in your Medicare Plan Coverage for next year ends December 7. 

The choices for Medicare insurance plans are numerous and can be confusing. Television ads are flashy and deceptive, postcards keep coming in the mail with glossy images of healthy seniors, and even your personal email can be overloaded with health insurance ads. It can be hard to tell the difference between an advertisement and the reality of an insurance program.

Help is available and it is free.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is an independent government program with trained health insurance counselors in every state. SHIP provides unbiased help with Medicare choices to seniors, their families, and caregivers.

This program provides free local health insurance counseling without the annoying commercial intrusion into your life that television is all too ready to offer. Change the channel? There’s another one. Delete that email? Here comes more. Each ad projects an official appearance, and each ad is just that – advertisement.

SHIP counselors can help with your Medicare questions or problems. They can help you understand Medicare plan choices and answer questions about switching plans if you decide to make a change in your provider for next year. 

You can call the SHIP program at 800-686-1578 toll-free or 614-644-2658.  Email your questions to oshiipmail@insurance.ohio.gov. Schedules for Medicare Plan Checkup events are available at insurance.ohio.gov/medicare along with an individual virtual counseling scheduling tool.

You can review this informational Medicare website at www.insurance.ohio.gov  

Thoughtful decisions about plan options are important because many plans offer vastly different benefits. Some provide a healthy food allowance on a monthly basis. Some cover prescription drugs and others cover prescription drugs only in part. Premiums, the amount you pay every month for your plan, differ from plan to plan, and many plans will require that you change your physicians. Keep searching to find the options you need. 

Ohioans on Medicare can also call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) for Medicare help.

December 7 is the deadline to change your plan or decide to keep the one you have right now. If you keep your plan, you do not have to do anything.

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