HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is reminding Medicare beneficiaries that the annual Medicare open enrollment period has begun and will end Saturday, December 7, 2019. Any new coverage selected takes effect on January 1, 2020.
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 make changes to their current coverage so that it better meets their needs.
In order to help Medicare beneficiaries sort through their options, Pennsylvania offers free, objective health benefits counseling through the APPRISE Program, which is designed to counsel and encourage Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers to make informed health care benefit decisions.
“We encourage seniors to take advantage of the free counseling services available through APPRISE, whether they are a new beneficiary or simply revisiting their coverage, because navigating any kind of health care options can be tedious and overwhelming,” said Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres. “Having trained APPRISE counselors walk beneficiaries through their choices allows for factual, authentic conversations that can leave them more informed and confident in their coverage choices.”
With almost 600 trained APPRISE counselors in the commonwealth, the APPRISE Program provides free, confidential, objective, and easy-to-understand information about Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, and Medicare Supplement plans, and allows Medicare beneficiaries to compare plans and determine what best meets their needs. The APPRISE Program holds Medicare open enrollment events through Area Agencies on Aging and throughout communities across the commonwealth. In 2018, nearly 200,000 of the commonwealth’s 2.7 million Medicare beneficiaries were advised by APPRISE counselors.
Many APPRISE counselors were Medicare beneficiaries with questions or concerns about their coverage and, after receiving assistance through APPRISE, wanted to learn more about how they could share that knowledge with others. APPRISE counselors receive free training about Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, Medicare prescription drug coverage, appeals, fraud, abuse, and more. Volunteer opportunities include being an APPRISE counselor and other roles.
Learn more about volunteering for the APPRISE Program here.
Learn more about the APPRISE Program here or find an open enrollment event in your area by calling the APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067.
Medicare beneficiaries can also complete their own plan comparisons by using the Medicare plan finder tool or calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Aging
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