LABELLE, FL. The Medicare Annual Disenrollment Period, which allows beneficiaries who have a Medicare Advantage Plan to make changes, ends on . The disenrollment period provides beneficiaries with an opportunity to switch back to original Medicare or return to original Medicare and join a prescription drug plan. Counselors from SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) are available to assist beneficiaries with this process.
Choosing a health care or prescription drug plan requires careful consideration of coverage and cost, and some beneficiaries may need assistance in understanding the benefits. Free help is available statewide from the Department of Elder Affairs’ SHINE program. Locally, SHINE is managed by the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL).
SHINE is an award-winning program that provides information and free, unbiased counseling for people with Medicare, their families, and their caregivers. The SHINE program can help beneficiaries compare plans and understand their options. For example, it is important to understand that beneficiaries cannot use this disenrollment period to switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another. Beneficiaries are allowed only one change during this enrollment period, so it is especially important that beneficiaries review their options carefully.
Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and assets may qualify for additional assistance with the cost of prescription drug plan premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. Medicare beneficiaries who believe they may be eligible are encouraged to contact a SHINE counselor for information about applying for these benefits. SHINE counselors can assist with applications for these programs.
SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated through the state’s network of Area Agency on Aging offices. SHINE volunteers are trained to offer free, unbiased, and confidential information and counseling concerning Medicare.
For help understanding the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period or to set up an appointment with a trained SHINE counselor to compare plans and review benefit programs, call the Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-866-41-ELDER (1-866-413-5337). You can also locate a counseling site in your area by visiting www.floridashine.org.