BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Council on Aging of Central Oregon is providing free Medicare counseling to support older adults in navigating the annual open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
The one-on-one phone or Zoom sessions are provided by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) certified volunteers and assist seniors in reevaluating their coverage – whether it’s Original Medicare (Parts A & B) with supplemental drug coverage (Part D), or Medicare Advantage (Part C) – and make changes or purchase new policies if they want to do so.
“Medicare can be a confusing program, whether you are just turning 65 and need to enroll, or want to review your current coverage and prescription plans,” said Council on Aging Executive Director Susan Rotella. “Understanding your Medicare benefits is an essential component of staying physically and financially healthy during the aging process, and our team of certified SHIBA volunteers are happy to work with our tri-county seniors to get the right coverage for their needs.”
Medicare is health insurance for people 65 years or older, or younger than 65 with Social Security Disability Income. Medicare covers many medical costs, including visits to the doctor, prescription medications, and preventive care, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes treatment, and blood pressure screenings. Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a prescription drug plan (Part D), or making any changes to existing coverage must be completed by Dec. 7, 2020 for coverage to begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2021.
To schedule an appointment for Medicare counseling, call the Council on Aging’s SHIBA line at (541) 678-5483, extension 211. Callers will be asked to leave a message, which will be returned by a certified SHIBA counselor, usually by the end of the next business day. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, all Medicare Counseling appointments this year will be over the phone or Zoom only.
Asistencia con Medicare y consegeria de SHIBA en español están disponibles llamando al 541-325-6837.
About Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA)
SHIBA provides free health insurance counseling to explain how the Medicare program works, additional insurance options that work with Medicare, and assistance with reducing out-of-pocket costs. SHIBA staff members, along with more than 200 certified counselors, serve many of Oregon’s more than 860,000 Medicare beneficiaries, so they can understand their Medicare benefits and enrollment options.
About the Council on Aging of Central Oregon
Since 1975, the Council on Aging has served as the designated Area Agency on Aging for Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, offering adults aged 60 and older and their loved ones a range of support services. A nonprofit organization, the Council on Aging advocates for, empowers and guides older adults and their loved ones to live with independence and well-being in age-friendly communities — places where infrastructure, policies and practices are developed to make the community livable, accessible and responsive to the needs of people of all ages, especially older adults.
Phone: (541) 678-5483