COLUMBUS – A top state official is urging Ohioans on Medicare to utilize the free services provided by the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) for assistance navigating Medicare’s Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 annual open enrollment period. OSHIIP helped Ohioans with Medicare save a record $16.4 million last year.
“This is the window for Ohioans to review their options and select Medicare coverage for 2015,” Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor said. “Our Medicare experts can help Ohioans understand the different coverage choices available as they plan for the upcoming year.”
OSHIIP, a program of the Ohio Department of Insurance, is Medicare’s designated free and impartial educational and enrollment assistance program in the state for those utilizing Medicare, family members and health care professionals. Ohioans can call OSHIIP at 800-686-1578 and attend one of its many statewide Medicare Check-up Day events for help with Medicare.
Taylor emphasized that Ohioans pleased with their current Medicare plan should comparison shop coverage for 2015 because plan costs and benefits can change. People comparing Medicare coverage should ensure a plan’s covered drugs include their needed prescriptions, Taylor said. It’s also imperative to consider all out-of-pocket expenses before making a decision.
At the Check-up Day events, attendees can learn about recent Medicare changes, such as the new deductibles, co-pay, and coinsurance amounts, the Medicare Advantage and Part D plan options, and about financial assistance programs, including extra help with prescription costs and for Part B premium savings.
Ohioans should watch for high pressure, and predatory sales practices, such as individuals claiming to be Medicare representatives, Taylor said.
The non-profit Pro Seniors and its fraud-fighting Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) will be present at the Check-up Day events to encourage people on Medicare to protect their Medicare card, and explain how to detect fraudulent behavior and report issues to the SMP. If you suspect wrongdoing or have been victimized, call the Department’s Fraud and Enforcement hotline at 800-686-1527 or the SMP at 800-488-6070.
Ohioans can visit www.medicare.gov to enroll into Medicare coverage. A Check-up Days schedule and other Medicare information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. Call the OSHIIP hotline at 800-686-1578 and 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) for assistance. Ohioans can also find OSHIIP on Facebook.