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Senior Alert: Medicare Open Enrollment Starts This Week

Photo: Medicare card. Courtesy of Simply Seniors
Photo: Medicare card. Courtesy of Simply Seniors
October 17, 2012

SALISBURY, N.C. - Medicare open enrollment starts this week, and seniors are being urged to review their current plans carefully to make sure they're getting the most out of their coverage.

In North Carolina, the Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is offering assistance to help seniors choose the right plan for them. Steve Simpson, SHIIP coordinator for the Rufty Holmes Senior Center in Salisbury, explains.

"If they want to make a change, this is the time to do it. Don't wait until after Dec. 7 to call your SHIIP office."

According to AARP North Carolina, almost 1.2 million seniors around the state are enrolled in Medicare. Simpson says looking at the options available could save you some money, and you'll want to make sure your plan still is honored where you live.

"They may be able to get a better price on a new plan, or they also need to know that sometimes, insurance companies drop out of a particular area."

Simpson says Medicare enrollees should have received a letter if their plan did pull out of their region, but it's good to make sure. Seniors can get assistance at their local SHIIP office or by calling 800-443-9354.

During open enrollment, Simpson says, Medicare enrollees can switch plans, add a prescription drug plan, or drop Medicare Advantage for a plan under original Medicare. If you're happy with your current plan, he says, you don't have to do a thing. Open enrollment ends Dec. 7.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC