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Medicare open enrollment period runs through Dec.7

Photo Submitted to Times Observer This screen photo shows the interface of the Medicare.gov website. In addition to the website, Elaine Krill, Apprise Coordinator of Warren Forest Counties Area Agency on Aging/Experience Inc. is available to assist Medicare beneficiaries with their plans. The open enrollment period for people already in the Medicare system runs through Dec. 7.

There are some key dates and deadlines related to Medicare enrollment.

Tuesday was one of them.

The open enrollment period for people already in the Medicare system started on Tuesday and runs through Dec. 7.

“Medicare annual open enrollment is the time of year that Medicare beneficiaries can compare their current plans, either Advantage plans or Part D (prescription) plans, to plans coming in 2020 and make a decision on whether to change to a better plan or stay with their current plan,” Apprise Coordinator Elaine Krill of Warren Forest Counties Area Agency on Aging/Experience Inc. said.

That kind of thing can be done online at www.medicare.gov.

Or, Krill can help.

“They come here and I show them a comparison between their plan and a plan for next year,” she said. “I explain to them the different ways they can use Medicare.”

She’s not selling anything. “It’s strictly informational,” she said.

Coverage and cost are generally the main considerations.

“If they need to change, I’ll enroll them,” Krill said. “It’s amazing how much money some people can save.”

Medicare is available to everyone over the age of 65 and to people who have been on disability for two full years, regardless of age.

People who will soon turn 65 or recently turned 65 should be thinking about Medicare.

There is a seven-month open enrollment window around the person’s 65th birthday. “Three months before the month of their 65th birthday and three months after,” Krill said.

There is another, special open enrollment period for people who work past the age of 65.

“When they decide to retire, they have a special enrollment period of 63 days to enroll,” she said.

Whether someone enrolls during the period around their 65th birthday or retirement, or changes their coverage during an open enrollment period, “Medicare will not look at their health history,” Krill said.

There are a number of different aspects of Medicare.

¯ Part A is for hospitalization coverage;

¯ Part B is doctors, outpatient services, and equipment;

¯ Part C is Advantage Plans — the things covered by Part A, B, and sometimes Part D are handled by private insurers;

¯ Part D is another side of Medicare that is provided by private insurers and covers prescription medications.

There are also supplemental plans, Krill said. Often, they cost more, but provide better coverage and do not have in-network restrictions.

While Krill can provide information about supplemental — Medigap — plans, generally, the individual will have to enroll online or visit an agent who offers those plans.

Krill said she expects to help about 500 people with their Medicare concerns and coverage this year.

Anyone who would like to go through the training and join her as a volunteer in helping people with Medicare is welcome.

She can meet with people interested in discussing their Medicare options at her AAA/Experience Inc. office, 905 Fourth Avenue, Warren.

She will also hold clinics at the Youngsville Public Library — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 23, Nov. 13, and Nov. 20; from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, and Friday, Nov. 15, at the Forest County Courthouse Annex in Tionesta; from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays Oct. 30, and Nov. 6, at the Marienville Library, and in Sheffield at times and locations to be determined.

Appointments may be made with Krill at the AAA office or at the clinics by calling 723-3763 ext. 123.

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