Medicare enrollment form

ANNUAL ELECTION PERIOD — The Medicare Annual Election Period is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7. Get help to review the best policy or changes for one’s needs.

People’s health needs change from year to year, and the benefits and costs of a health plan may change each year, too. That’s why it’s important to evaluate Medicare choices every year.

The Annual Election Period is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2020. Those who take advantage of the annual election period may be able to save money and improve your coverage.

The Annual Election Period starts Oct.15 and lasts seven full weeks, which gives people enough time to review and make changes to Medicare coverage.

Medicare recipients need to make a final selection for next year’s Medicare coverage by Dec. 7 to ensure that coverage can begin without interruption Jan.1.

Those uncertain about the options can receive help at the Haywood Senior Resources Center on Elmwood Way in Waynesville where a free consultation is available that offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues.

In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries compare and enroll in plans during the annual election period, counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs.

There are several ways to review and compare plans available for 2020:

• Get one-on-one help from the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-855-408-1212, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday — Friday, or the Haywood SHIIP Office at 828-356-2833.

• Visit to compare current coverage with all of the options that are available in the area, and enroll in a new plan if a change is wanted. Review the Medicare & You handbook, which was mailed to people with Medicare in September.

• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. The Haywood County SHIIP office is at 81 Elmwood Way, in Waynesville.

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