Thursday, November 15, 2018

Free Evaluation of Medicare Benefits



Specially-trained SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs.


Did you know that Medicare health insurance and drug plans can make changes each year—revising things like cost, coverage, the prescriptions they include, and their list of in-network providers and pharmacies? Fortunately, just like the insurance providers, beneficiaries can also make changes to their Medicare coverage each year. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is the time to make adjustments to your plan to ensure that you have the best coverage to complement your health needs for 2019.

Medicare can be a daunting subject for most people, and the Open Enrollment Period only runs from Oct. 15, 2018, through Dec. 7, 2018. Fortunately, experts from the SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) are available to provide free, unbiased, one-one-one counseling. Medicare beneficiaries can lean on these valuable local experts for advice.

SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL). Specially-trained SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs.

SHINE will offer drop-in Medicare counseling in Marco Island during the open enrollment period. Drop-in counseling will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis at Marco Lutheran Church (525 N. Collier Blvd.) on Friday, Nov. 30. Counselors will be on site at all locations from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Beneficiaries are asked to bring their Medicare card and a list of prescription drugs with dosage.

The SHINE mission is to provide free and unbiased information about Medicare and Medicaid for beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers. SHINE also educates beneficiaries to protect, detect, and report potential errors, fraud, and abuse with their Medicare coverage.

SHINE strongly encourages beneficiaries to be on the lookout for their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), which they should have received from their plans prior to the end of September. Reviewing their benefits and evaluating their health care options each year is vitally important for beneficiaries. Acting quickly can assure a smooth transition into the 2019 benefit year.

SHINE counseling is also available by appointment year-round in Collier County. To receive help from SHINE, individuals may call to schedule appointments at designated SHINE counseling sites, attend enrollment events in their local communities, or arrange to speak with a trained SHINE counselor at 1-866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER) For a listing of SHINE counseling sites and enrollment events, please visit www.floridashine.org.

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota Counties. AAASWFL is the state’s designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to connecting older adults and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safely with independence and dignity. More information is available at www.aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER).

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