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N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey checks in with Safe Kids North Carolina  during a child safety seat event Sept. 11 at Idlewild Market. Causey chairs the organization’s board of directors. Justin Vick/UCW photo

RALEIGH – Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey reminds Medicare beneficiaries to compare and evaluate their current plans and make necessary changes during the upcoming Open Enrollment Period.

Medicare plans and prices change. Causey recommends Medicare beneficiaries take advantage of the Open Enrollment Period by contacting local Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program counselors to save money, improve coverage or both.

The Open Enrollment Period begins Oct. 15 and runs for eight weeks to give enough time to review and make changes to a person’s Medicare coverage. Changes must be made by Dec. 7 to guarantee your coverage will begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2022.

Causey said it's important to contact a local SHIIP counselor before making a decision about coverage because beneficiaries may be able to receive more affordable and better Medicare health and/or drug plan options.

For example, even if a person is satisfied with their current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, there may be another plan that covers health care and/or drugs at a better price.

SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues.

In addition, to helping Medicare beneficiaries compare and enroll in plans during the Open Enrollment Period, SHIIP counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs.

Here are some of the ways to review and compare plans available for 2022:

· Get one-on-one help from a local SHIIP office.

· Get one-on-one help from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-855-408-1212, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

· Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with available options and enroll in a new plan if necessary.

· Review the Medicare & You handbook. It was mailed to people with Medicare in September.

· Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Call 1-855-408-1212 or visit www.ncshiip.com for more information about SHIIP and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

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