Serving those with Health Insurance and Medicare Needs
on Cape Cod since 1985 … S.H.I.N.E.
The SHINE Program
The SHINE Program – Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders
Free Medicare counseling service for new and current Medicare beneficiaries.
We explain options available and we assist with enrollments.
We are mandated, funded and supported by the federal Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services and the state of Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
Every COA (Council on Aging) will also have SHINE counselors available as well – you can call your local Senior Center to schedule an appointment.
Regional SHINE Program Manager – Cape Cod & Islands
3195 Main St, PO Box 427
Barnstable, MA. 02630
Medicare Plan Changes and Your Changing Needs
Medicare Plan Changes for 2012:
Every year, there are changes among the Medicare Part D plans, Medicare Advantage (managed care) plans and Medicare supplement plans. There are 30 Medicare Part D plans for 2012. This is a slight decrease from the 34 plans we have had available in 2011. Existing plans have changed their formularies, monthly premiums, co-pays and/or deductibles. Medigap Supplement plans are not changing significantly in terms of coverage but for most plans, there are changes in premiums. Medicare Advantage plans are also not changing significantly in terms of health care coverage. One new plan will be added for Barnstable County. Some of the plans are changing premiums and plans with drug coverage may change formularies and co-pays.
Your Changing Needs: When your health care needs change, it is time to check that you have the best coverage in place. Perhaps a chronic health condition has increased your visits to the doctor, required more frequent diagnostic tests and more medications. As a result, your out-of-pocket costs may have increased. When Can You Choose A Different Plan? During Open Enrollment (October 15th to December 7th). Perhaps at other times of the year if the type of plan you have allows the change or if you are entitled to a Special Enrollment. How Can SHINE Help You? We can determine if you are able to make a plan change. We can analyze your needs and compare available plans to find you the most comprehensive coverage at the best price for you. We may also be able to save your money through public assistance programs. The SHINE Program (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) is a statewide program that provides free confidential counseling on all aspects of health insurance for Medicare beneficiaries of all ages and their caregivers. Call your local Senior Center and ask for an appointment with a Certified SHINE Counselor. Sonja Brewer, Regional Director, Cape & Islands SHINE Program.
Missed Those Medicare Deadlines?
Rx Coverage Still Available For Some
By Sonja Brewer
Although the 2011 Medicare Open Enrollment period ended in December, you may still be able to change your coverage, if you qualify. Here are some examples:
If you are a member of Prescription Advantage, the Massachusetts state-sponsored prescription drug program, you can change your prescription drug coverage one time during the year outside of Open Enrollment. This applies if you have either a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage. This opportunity is especially important if you find that your prescription co-pays become unaffordable during the year. Also, if you are a member of Prescription Advantage and you do not have prescription drug coverage, you may enroll in a plan during the year outside of Open Enrollment. The Prescription Advantage program is available to Massachusetts residents with low to moderate incomes.
If you receive “Extra Help” through the Limited Income Subsidy, a federal assistance program for those with low income and low assets, you can change your Medicare prescription drug coverage at any time during the year. If you are a member of MassHealth, a state assistance program for those with low income and low assets, you can also change your Medicare prescription drug coverage at any time during the year.
You may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period due to a recent change such as loss of other coverage, change in residence, admission or discharge from a long term care facility. If eligible, you have a special opportunity to change your coverage for a limited period of time.
Every year there is a Medicare Advantage Plan Disenrollment Period that runs from January 1 to February 14. During this time, you can drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and switch back to coverage under Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B (Original Medicare).
If you have or would like to enroll in a Massachusetts Medigap Plan to supplement your Medicare coverage under Part A and Part B, you may enroll or change your coverage at any time of the year.
SHINE can help you by determining if you qualify to make a plan change. We can analyze your needs and compare available plans to find you the most comprehensive coverage at the best price for you. We may also be able to save you money through public assistance programs.
The SHINE Program (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) is a statewide program that provides free confidential counseling on all aspects of health insurance for Medicare beneficiaries of all ages and their caregivers. Call your local Senior Center and ask for an appointment with a Certified SHINE Counselor.
If you have specific concerns or questions, feel free to contact the Regional Office of the Cape and Islands SHINE Program at 1-800-334-9999.
(Ms. Brewer is the SHINE Cape & Islands Regional Director.)