Medicare Open Enrollment: Free Insurance Counseling Available

Medicare Open Enrollment: Free Insurance Counseling Available
October 15, 2018 Janet Long

Medicare Open Enrollment: Free Insurance Counseling Available

October 15, 2018, MORRIS, IL – A volunteer counselor from the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is available at Morris Hospital by appointment to provide free health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. Counselors are also available by appointment in Coal City and Seneca.

A program of the Illinois Department of Aging, SHIP counselors are volunteers who are certified by Medicare to educate consumers and answer questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, prescription drug plans, and Advantage plans. SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company, and the counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. Morris Hospital serves as the sponsor for the four local SHIP volunteers.

This is an especially active time of year for the SHIP Program, with the open enrollment period running from October 15-December 7 for seniors and disabled persons who have a Medicare Drug Plan and Advantage Plan. The open enrollment period provides an opportunity to change plans without penalty.

“There are several reasons people may want to change their Medicare supplement or drug plan,” explains Dick Sefton, coordinator of the Morris Hospital based SHIP Program. “Maybe the 2018 drug plan is going to be more expensive in 2019, or the existing plan will no longer cover certain medications next year. Sometimes people are not satisfied with the level of service provided with their existing plan, or they want a plan that offers mail order. There are all kinds of options to consider.”

“Medicare coverage and all the available options are somewhat complicated,” he adds. “We’re here to help people make educated decisions with regards to the various drug and supplemental programs that are available to seniors and disabled persons.”

According to Sefton, Morris Hospital SHIP is not certified to assist individuals under age 65 who are not currently on Medicare with obtaining medical coverage through the Illinois Marketplace. He recommends calling 1 (866) 311-1119 to enroll in the Illinois Marketplace offerings or to obtain other assistance, such as locating a local counselor.

Individuals interested in meeting with a SHIP counselor should call 815-705-1063. Please leave a message, and someone will call you back to schedule an appointment.


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