Medicare’s annual open enrollment period is here, and Buckeye Hills Regional Council is ready to help Medicare beneficiaries find the best coverage. Starting Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, its enrollment specialists are available to help review coverage options to ensure people are choosing the best plan to meet their needs and budget.

“Medicare plans and coverage options can change every year,” stated BHCR Director of Aging Jennifer Westfall. “It’s important that individuals review and adjust their plans to fit any additional health needs or budget changes they may have.”

Individuals aged 65 and older can choose Medicare coverage through Original Medicare, or they can choose coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan. Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance.) Supplemental coverage may also be purchased through a private company to help pay out-of-pocket costs. If you want drug coverage, you can add a separate Medicare drug plan (Part D).

A Medicare Advantage Plan is an all-in-one alternative. These plans include Part A, Part B, and usually, Part D. Most plans offer extra benefits such as vision, hearing, and dental.

Each year during Open Enrollment, Medicare recipients may review and stay with their current plans or look for a new plan with better coverage, higher quality, and lower costs. Buckeye Hills can also help individuals determine whether they may be eligible for the Low-Income Subsidy and/or Medicare Savings Program, as well as other Medicare premium assistance programs and assist with the application process.

“One of the additional programs we can assist with is the Medicare Extra Help Program,” said Westfall. “This year, we may be able to save individuals an average of $408 per month in prescription drug costs. Many seniors are eligible for this and don’t realize it, and it’s our job to find those savings for them.”

One big change this year involves in-person assistance and Medicare check-up dates. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, in-person check-up dates have not been scheduled and the majority of help will be provided over the phone, by appointment only. Special accommodations will be made to assist those who may be hearing impaired. Appointments may be scheduled by calling BHRC at 1-800-331-2644.

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