TALLAHASSEE — Hundreds of counselors with Florida’s SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program stand ready to provide free assistance for Florida elders navigating the intricacies of Medicare’s important Open Enrollment Period (OEP). During OEP, which begins on October 15 and ends on December 7, seniors may sign up for or change their Medicare coverage, including regular Medicare coverage and Part D prescription drug plans.
SHINE, a program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, provides free one-on-one insurance counseling and community education regarding Medicare options and prescription drug assistance for elders, their families, and caregivers.
“Open Enrollment during the fall provides our seniors with the most flexibility to update their Medicare plans, so that their healthcare needs are met for the following year,” said Secretary Michelle Branham. “Our SHINE counselors are committed to ensuring that our seniors, their families, and caregivers are knowledgeable about the different plans to make the best decision for their health.”
Every year, Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare Prescription Drug or Medicare Advantage Plans during the enrollment period. Even if Medicare beneficiaries are generally happy with their current benefits, SHINE encourages them to review their benefits each year. Seniors can compare all options and search for plans in their area by visiting the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov. Those who need assistance are encouraged to contact the SHINE program by calling Florida’s Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337) and asking for a SHINE volunteer counselor. You can also request SHINE assistance by visiting www.floridashine.org.
Beneficiaries are encouraged to act quickly so they will have a smooth transition into the 2024 benefit year. People with Medicare can receive help reviewing and enrolling in a plan by attending a Medicare Open Enrollment event or in-person at one of our many SHINE counseling sites. SHINE also provides enrollment assistance via one-on-one counseling over the phone or in person at designated counseling sites and at enrollment events in local communities. A current list of events in your area can be found by visiting the SHINE website under Community Events and Counseling Sites.