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If you are new to Medicare, it can seem very overwhelming with its multiple timelines and coverage options. Even long-time beneficiaries have lots of questions during open enrollment. Can I stay with my existing coverage? Has that coverage changed? If I change plans, when does the new coverage kick in? When do I have to make all these decisions? As is often said, knowledge is power, and it certainly rings true about Medicare. There's no doubt that understanding it will boost your confidence during the coverage selection process.
The Ohio Department of Insurance's Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) points out the five most important things beneficiaries should know about the Medicare open enrollment period.
OSHIIP provides free and unbiased Medicare information, enrollment assistance and outreach services to all Ohioans who are eligible for Medicare. Call OSHIIP at 1-800-686-1578 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.insurance.ohio.gov to download a free copy of the "Shopper's Guide to Medicare Supplemental Insurance and Medicare Options" (also available by calling).
For hands-on help, attend one of OSHIIP's many statewide Medicare Check-up events for free information and insurance counseling assistance. Visit the Web site above to find an event in your community. Bring with you a list of your prescriptions drugs, dosages and preferred pharmacy information, as well as any information on pension, VA or other medical care benefits you receive.
The staff of Boomerang thanks the Ohio Department of Insurance and the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program for contributing to this article.