The Medicare Open Enrollment Period to sign up for 2020 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans begins Tuesday, Oct. 15, and will continue through Dec. 7. During open enrollment, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments’ Area Agency on Aging’s State Health Insurance Program is offering counseling to all Medicare-qualified individuals.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older and those who are eligible for Social Security based on a disability. Each year during open enrollment, you have a chance to make changes to your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) or Medicare Advantage Plan for the following year.

Medicare has made some significant changes in 2019 and for 2020, including issuing new Medicare ID cards and updating Medicare.gov and functions with an emphasis on beneficiaries creating a MyMedicare.gov account. Such an account will allow your local SHIP counselors to provide more in depth assistance in navigating these changes.

SHIP counselors are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, Monday through Friday, on a walk-in basis at 14 S. Chestnut St. in Colorado Springs. The counselors will help Medicare clients review all of the options available to them in order to make the best decision for their coverage.

SHIP counseling is free and counselors do not sell or endorse any insurance, so they can provide an objective view of the options. All are trained and certified by the state and by Medicare and have many years of experience.

For more information, call 471-2096.

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