Photo by Thomas Anderson
Photo by Thomas Anderson

Medicare’s open enrollment period for prescription drug plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans begins on October 15 and runs through December 7.

“Many Medicare plans are changing again this year,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in a statement. “Open enrollment is the time to shop for the best plan that meets your needs.”

The Commissioner’s Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) offers the following tips:

• Plan costs and coverage will likely change every year, so carefully review all letters and notices from your insurer.

• Make a list of all current prescription drugs you take, the doses, and how often. Then, use the Medicare Plan Finder (https://www.medicare.gov/) to compare prescription drug (Part D) plans.

• Review the 2015 Medicare & You handbook. You should receive it in the mail by mid-October.

• If you have questions, call a SHIBA volunteer at 800-562-6900 or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) before you sign up.

• If you have limited income and need help paying for prescription drugs, check out Medicare’s “Extra Help” program (www.socialsecurity.gov/). To see if you qualify, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

“Whatever you do, don’t wait until the end of the enrollment period to get help,” Kreidler said.

To attend a free Medicare workshop in your local area, visit www.insurance.wa.gov/shiba.

For help in other languages, call:

• Korean, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 800-582-4259

• Chinese, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 800-582-4218

• Vietnamese, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, 800-582-4336

• Spanish, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, 866-783-2645

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