Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15—Review Your Plan!

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 2013.

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period starts October 15 and runs until December 7. This will give seniors and people with disabilities more time to compare and find the best plan that meets their unique needs.
The Medicare Plan Finder can help you find the best plan in your area. You can also see if your current plan is highly rated or may have some problems.

If you need help finding the right plan, you can contact SHIBA—Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors—a free service offered by the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office. SHIBA advisors provide free, unbiased assistance with Medicare health care choices. You can call SHIBA Hotline at 206-727-6221 (local) or 1-800-562-6900 (toll-free).

In 2012, additional Medicare benefits include lower prescription drug costs through a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs in the coverage gap (also referred to as the "donut hole"), wellness checkups, and access to certain preventive care with no copayments. Visit or websites to see what changes lie ahead in 2013.

—Kirk Larson, Social Security Western Washington

SHIBA: Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors

SHIBA volunteer advisors are experts in Medicare, Medigap coverage, employment-related health benefits, managed care, fraud and abuse questions, long-term care options, and more. Advisors are trained and closely supervised. They provide impartial and objective advice, and are not affiliated with any insurance company or product.

The following organizations host SHIBA volunteers in King County:

Senior Services

Chinese Information and Service Center
206-624-5633 ext 4140

Latino Community Fund