As the air cools and the mango trees produce the last of their fruit, we approach the fall season and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. November is also National Caregivers Month. These are both very important times for individuals with Medicare and our unsung heroes — caregivers.

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is from October 15 – December 7. This is an opportunity to change, drop or enroll in a Medicare health or drug plan.

The staff and volunteers at the Hawaii SHIP/Sage PLUS Program would like to encourage everyone to do a Medicare Plan Check Up before Thanksgiving. This check up involves some simple questions that you can ask yourself or about the person you are taking care of.

□ What is my current coverage?

□ Does it cover my medications?

□ Does my physician and other providers work with my plan?

□ Do I have Medicare?

□ Do I have a former employer’ retirement plan?

□ Could that insurance be impacted (possibly canceled) if I enroll in a Medicare Health or Drug plan?

□ Do I have coverage from the Veterans Administration or TriCare for Life?

□ Does my insurance include drug coverage?

□ Is my current plan/coverage meeting my needs?

□ Is my plan still affordable- including premiums and co-pays/co-insurances

□ Are there any new Medicare Advantage options available that include a benefit that I need (vision, dental, health club membership) and is not covered by Original/Traditional Medicare?

The Hawaii SHIP will be providing Medicare Screenings across the state during October and November. To see when we will be in your area, visit www.hawaiiship.org, email help@hawaiiship.org or call 1-888-875-9229.

We also provide assistance from a Certified Counselor who can help you look at your Medicare health options.

We would also like to highlight some information that is available for caregivers from Medicare. For A Caregiver’s Resource Kit with helpful videos, pamphlets and other information, visit www.medicare.gov/campaigns/caregiver-resource-kit.html.

Can’t afford your prescription drug costs or your Medicare Part B premium? Call the Hawaii SHIP/Sage PLUS Program for a free screening and assistance completing the applications. Would you like to help your community? Call for our volunteer experiences at 888-875-9229.

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