Department of Aging: Medicare annual open enrollment period underway

·2 min read

Nov. 21—WILKES-BARRE — The Pennsylvania Department of Aging Thursday issued a reminder to Medicare beneficiaries that the Annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period is now underway until Dec. 7, and Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight, PA MEDI, is here to help.

PA MEDI, formerly known as APPRISE, is Pennsylvania's State Health Insurance Assistance Program. PA MEDI, through the local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), provides unbiased education and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers to assist them in making informed health insurance decisions that optimize cost-savings and access to health care and benefits.

Through open enrollment, beneficiaries can join, switch, or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage. It is also the time to think about what benefits will matter and compare available options for 2022. During this time of year, consumers may see television ads with celebrities touting a plan's extra benefits.

Although they may mimic official Medicare communications, the ads are from brokers or agents with a personal financial interest in those plans.

"PA MEDI counselors do not sell Medicare insurance products, nor do they endorse any insurance company, product, or agent. Counselors will not recommend policies, companies or insurance agents, but they will provide free, confidential, and unbiased personalized assistance during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment and year-round," said Susan Neff, PA MEDI director. "When comparing their insurance plan options, beneficiaries should consider their personal situation and the overall costs, coverage, and convenience offered by the plan and not just the advertised extra benefits. We encourage beneficiaries to seek out PA MEDI, the known and trusted local resource for objective Medicare information in Pennsylvania."

Beneficiaries can visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE to compare plans. PA MEDI counselors can also assist older adults with plan comparisons, help them enroll in a new plan and help them determine if they are eligible for any of Pennsylvania's Medicare cost-savings programs like PACE, Extra Help, and Medicare Savings Program.

If beneficiaries decide to change plans, their new coverage will start Jan. 1, 2022.

Older adults can visit to find a PA MEDI event for open enrollment or an informational presentation in their area. They can also call the toll-free PA MEDI Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All services are free and confidential.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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