YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Medicare’s open enrollment means you’re seeing ads everywhere telling you about benefits, and some make you think the benefits are new. There’s a reason for it.
Open enrollment is the time for Medicare beneficiaries and patients to make decisions about 2022 health and drug benefits. The ads can give you FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Medicare products can not be sold unless a patient makes first contact.
“So often calling these 800 numbers that are seen on TV acts as that first contact. And then you never stop receiving those soliciting phone calls,” said Christina Reeg, director of Ohio Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP).
OSHIIP is holding free Medicare check-up events in this region. The agency is funded by Medicare.
“We’re going to provide objective information. There are no sales. There are no commissions. We just want Medicare patients to make an educated decision on the plan that’s best for them, as an individual,” Reeg said.
There are typically 70 Medicare Advantage plans in each county. These check-ups explain coverage options, even assistance programs to help with the costs. These plans are on a 1-year contract with Medicare. So every year the cost can change, coverage can change. A review is important.
“Choosing to do nothing is a choice and not one that we recommend. Just because someone had the best prescription drug plan or health plan for them in 2021, does not mean that that is the best plan for 2022,” Reeg said.
OSHIIP is holding two checkup dates in our region:
- Nov. 15 – Mahoning County: In-person counseling by appointment from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ohio Living Senior Center, 201 Wick Ave. in Youngstown. Call 234-232-7221 to schedule an appointment
- Nov. 16 – Trumbull County: In-person counseling by appointment from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Girard Multi-Generational Center, 443 Trumbull Ave. in Girard. Call 330-545-6596 to schedule an appointment.
The 2022 Medicare open enrollment period runs through Dec. 7. Plan information is available at www.medicare.gov.
In addition to on-site events, which are subject to change or cancellation, OSHIIP is holding virtual Medicare Check-up Day webinars through Nov. 29. Register for one of these remaining webinars at www.insurance.ohio.gov:
- Nov. 15, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Nov. 22, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
For a full outreach schedule and event registration, visit www.insurance.ohio.gov. OSHIIP staff is available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-800-686-1578 and OSHIIPmail@insurance.ohio.gov to provide assistance.
Ohioans on Medicare can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week for Medicare help.