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Medicare annual open enrollment period has started

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD – Free counseling assistance is available to help educate Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers regarding their Medicare insuranceoptions, according to a news release from the Illinois Department on Aging.

Medicare Open Enrollment started Tuesday and runs through Dec. 7. The IDoA’s Senior Health Insurance Program, (SHIP), provides free counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.

SHIP counselors can explain the drug, health and supplemental plans available to help seniors and people with disabilities. Call 800-548-9034 or visit www.state.il.us/aging/SHIP/SiteSponsorListByCountyAll.pdf for information.

SHIP is a year-round program, not affiliated with any insurance company, and counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. Counselors educate and answer questions about Medicare A, B, D and Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplementpolicies, Extra Help for Part D, long term care insurance, and employer/retiree health plans, according to the news release.

The Medicare Open Enrollment that runs through Dec. 7 is not the same as the open enrollment that started Oct. 1 for uninsured people to sign up for coverage on health insurance exchanges or marketplace, according to the news release.

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