New Castle News

Local News

October 5, 2013

Challenges schedules Medicare aid programs

NEW CASTLE — Local Apprise counselors will be available to assist people with assessing their Medicare coverage options during the enrollment season.

Two informational meetings have been set. The first will be 9:30 to 11 a.m. Monday at Challenges, Options in Aging, 2706 Mercer Road. The second will be 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the agency’s Ellwood City location, 1405 Woodside Ave.

Apprise is a program of Challenges. An appointment can be made to speak with a counselor by calling (724) 658-3729.

People with Medicare will see some changes to their enrollment rules this fall. If they miss the opportunity to make adjustments to their plans now, they will have to wait another year. The following will change:

•The open enrollment period will be Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Both Part D and Medicare Advantage plan members can make changes.

•Medicare’s annual disenrollment period will be Jan. 1 to Feb. 14. Only people with Medicare Advantage plans will be able to return to original Medicare and join a stand-alone prescription drug (Part D) plan.

Apprise counselors can help Medicare beneficiaries review current coverage, check qualification for low-income programs, compare plans with all available options, search for plans online that meet specific prescription and medical needs, give easy-to-understand answers to questions about Medicare, help enroll in a plan online.

The counselors are specially trained volunteers who can answer questions and provide information about Medicare, Medicare supplemental insurance and Medicaid.

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