Department of Aging: Medicare Open Enrollment Has Begun, Free Insurance Counseling Available Through PA MEDI

Department of Aging

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) is reminding consumers that the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries began Friday, and will end on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Any new coverage selected or changes to existing benefits take effect on January 1, 2022.

During open enrollment, new Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Medicare Prescription Drug coverage and health plans to complement Medicare, and current Medicare beneficiaries can review and join, switch, or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage so that it better meets their needs.

In order to help Medicare beneficiaries sort through their options, the department offers free, objective health benefits counseling through Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight – or PA MEDI. Through Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), PA MEDI counselors can assist Medicare beneficiaries with plan comparisons, help with enrollment in a new plan, and evaluate eligibility for any of Pennsylvania’s Medicare cost-savings programs.

“Navigating health care options can be confusing, tedious and overwhelming. Whether an older adult is a new or current Medicare beneficiary interested in learning all their coverage options, we encourage all seniors to take advantage of the free independent counseling services available through PA MEDI,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “The trained PA MEDI counselors can guide beneficiaries through their choices and help them be more informed and confident in deciding what options may be the best for them.”

Secretary Torres added that the department recently launched a page on its website for older adults to find PA MEDI events and programs in their local county.

PA MEDI provides free, confidential, objective, and easy-to-understand information about Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, and Medicare Supplement plans allowing Medicare beneficiaries to compare plans and determine what best meets their needs.  This work is done with the help of nearly 650 PA MEDI volunteers housed in local AAAs across the commonwealth.

Earlier this year, PDA’s Education & Outreach Office rebranded its State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) that provides free Medicare counseling and education, from the former name APPRISE, to Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight, PA MEDI. The rebranding is helping to improve public awareness of the program and of the valuable services it provides to assist Pennsylvania’s Medicare-eligible individuals, their families and caregivers in making informed health insurance decisions that optimize cost-savings and access to health care benefits.

Individuals can learn more about PA MEDI, events and programs, or becoming a volunteer on the Department of Aging’s website.

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