Annual Medicare open enrollment period begins Oct. 15

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, from Oct. 15-Dec. 7, is the annual opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to make changes to various aspects of their coverage.

Recipients can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa. Recipients also can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.

Those who didn't enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when first eligible can do so now during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.

For assistance, Medicare beneficiaries may contact Jennifer Morris, State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) coordinator with the Purchase Area Development District. In fiscal year 2018, Medicare beneficiaries in the jackson Purchase region saved $128,680 during the SHIP open enrollment period.

SHIP is a free health benefits counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their families or caregivers. SHIP's mission is to educate, advocate, counsel and empower people to make informed healthcare benefit decisions.

SHIP is an independent program funded by federal agencies and is not affiliated with the insurance industry.

Medicare beneficiaries can call 270-251-6165 to make an appointment or can attend one of the scheduled open enrollment events in the Purchase area.