The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Health plan enrollment now underway


October 19, 2017

Last Sunday marked the start of Medicare’s open enrollment for prescription drug plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans.

Washington state Insurance Commission Office Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) are ready to help people with all Medicare questions during open enrollment, which ends Dec. 7.

“I encourage people to take advantage of this free, statewide service,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Navigating the different Medicare plan options can be overwhelming during open enrollment. And just like in years past, some Medicare plans will change. Our statewide network of trained SHIBA volunteers will work with you to answer your questions, search for plans online and help you evaluate them.”

Before making a decision, one should consider these tips:

--Plan costs and coverage can change every year, so review all letters and notices your current plan sends you.

--Make a list of all of the prescription drugs you take, the doses, and how often you take them. Then, use the Plan Finder at to compare Part D plans.

--Review the 2018 Medicare & You handbook. You should receive a hard copy in the mail by mid-October.

--If you have questions, call SHIBA at 1-800-562-6900 before you sign up.

--If you’re on a limited income and need help paying for prescription drugs, you might qualify for the “Extra Help” program. To see if you qualify, contact SHIBA to learn more about the program and get help applying.

--Every year, SHIBA offers free, unbiased Medicare workshops in local areas throughout the state. Find an event in your area.

To schedule your one-on-one counseling appointment with a SHIBA volunteer, Monday through Friday:

--Call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with a SHIBA volunteer in your area.

--Visit their website to find the phone number for your local SHIBA office.


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