Local help is available from Oregon SHIBA ahead of Medicare open enrollment, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

(Salem) – Each October, open enrollment begins for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Medicare plans and drug formularies change each year, so it is important for Oregonians who are enrolled in Medicare to evaluate their plan options and make changes during open enrollment, which is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

In a pandemic, this year is no different. The Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program is still available to help, but only remotely at this time.

“In normal times, Medicare is a complex program,” said Chiqui Flowers, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and SHIBA administrator. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, open enrollment will be harder to navigate, but we are available to serve beneficiaries and we’ll get through this hard time together.”

To help stop the spread of the virus and to keep counselors and vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries safe, SHIBA will be providing only phone, email, and web meeting counseling sessions until further notice. All Medicare open enrollment information sessions will be held virtually through live and recorded webinars available on SHIBA’s website, SHIBA.Oregon.gov.

SHIBA counselors can help Oregonians navigate the Medicare.gov Plan Finder Tool (Medicare.gov/plan-compare) to enter prescriptions and compare the cost and benefits of individual drug plans, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any other questions related to Medicare benefits..

SHIBA’s 2021 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans will be available on SHIBA.Oregon.gov by Oct. 15 and in limited print copies in November. Find local help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting SHIBA.Oregon.gov.