by Kirk Larson
Social Security Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist
With more benefits, better choices and lower costs, the Social Security Administration is encouraging people with Medicare and their families to start reviewing drug and health plan coverage options for 2016.
The Medicare open enrollment period starts Oct. 15 and will end Dec. 7. This will give seniors and people with disabilities time to compare and find the best plan that meets their unique needs.
Using Medicare’s Plan Finder — available at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan — can help you find the best plan in your area.
You also can see if your current plan is highly rated or may have some issues.
You have the option to complete a general or personalized plan search. A personalized search may provide you with more accurate cost estimates and coverage information.
If you need help finding the right plan, you can contact the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA). SHIBA is part of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s consumer protection services designed to help answer your health care questions.
You can get free, unbiased assistance with Medicare health care choices using its website at www.insurance.wa.gov/shiba/index or by calling 800-562-6900.
Each year there are changes to Medicare program and it is important to keep up and understand how the changes can benefit or cost you more money.