July 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Open Enrollment, a Great Time To Get a Check-Up on Your Coverage

Currently, over 60 million Americans are Medicare beneficiaries. Yet, Medicare is one of the most complicated systems to navigate, especially for seniors. Fortunately, there is a free nationwide service available to help beneficiaries make informed choices. The State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) provide local, in-depth and objective insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families and caregivers. I have been a SHIP counselor, assisting Medicare beneficiaries, for the past 10 years. As a social worker at Project Ezrah I am able to help anyone in the community who would like to review their Medicare benefits to make sure you are getting the best policy for your needs.

If you have any concerns about Medicare now is the time to address them. Open enrollment is yearly from October 15 to December 7. Individuals can make as many changes as needed to their Medicare coverage during this period. Changes will take effect on January 1. Some changes that can be made are:

  • Joining a new Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Joining a new Part D (prescription drug) plan
  • Switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare

Even if an individual does not want to make any changes, it is prudent for all beneficiaries to review their current Medicare health and drug coverage annually. Premiums, coverages, benefits and drug costs can change yearly. Some things to examine are:

  • Access to preferred health care providers, specialists and hospitals
  • Access to preferred pharmacies
  • Access to needed benefits and services
  • Making certain a plan covers necessary medications
  • Total costs for premiums, deductibles and cost-sharing

Beneficiaries can make changes and review their coverage online at Medicare.gov (using the Plan Finder tool), by phone at 800-MEDICARE or with a SHIP counselor.

Project Ezrah would like to invite all Medicare beneficiaries in the community to reach out to us, to review your coverage to make sure you have the best plan to fit your needs. Please feel free to reach out to Project Ezrah at 201-569-9047 to schedule an appointment by phone. Wishing everyone good health and good health coverage in the new year.

By Tamra Ackerman, MSW, LSW/Project Ezrah

 

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