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Don't miss your chance to make sure your Medicare coverage meets your current needs!

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. During this time, you can make certain changes to your health insurance coverage, including adding, dropping, or changing your Medicare Advantage and Part D coverage. Even if you are happy with your current health and drug coverage, Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is a good time to review what you have, compare it with other options, and make sure that your current coverage still meets your needs for the coming year.

During September, your current plan should have sent you an Annual Notice of Change. This document will tell you any changes your plan is making. Prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage Plans can change their premium amounts, copays, deductibles, formularies and In-Network providers from year to year so even the plan that was best last year may not still be the best option. If you don’t like what you see, make sure you look at other options in your area.

If you feel you would benefit from a plan review, the Area Agency on Aging – Five County is here to help. Staff and volunteers with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can help local Medicare beneficiaries navigate the options available in our area. Medicare counselors with the SHIP program can provide benefits explanations and plan comparisons for all of the Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans available in Southwest Utah. Counselors will visit Senior Centers all across Southwest Utah to provide free, unbiased plans comparisons. In addition, one-on-one counseling is available in person, over the phone or on Zoom by appointment.

To have a Medicare Counselor complete a plans comparison with you, contact:

AAA-Five County Cedar City Office or Virtual Appointment: Amy (435)867-6020

AAA-Five County St. George Office: Tom (435)-673-3548

or schedule an appointment to meet with us, when we visit your local Senior Center:

Beaver Senior Center November 1, 2021 435-438-3499

Milford Senior Center November 2, 2021 435-387-2379

Minersville Senior Center November 4, 2021 435-386-8410

Escalante Senior Center November 3, 2021 435-826-4317

Panguitch Senior Center November 3, 2021 435-676-1140

Cedar City Senior Center November 2, 2021 435-586-0832

Parowan Senior Center November 8, 2021 435-477-8925

Kanab Senior Center November 4, 2021 435-644-5250

Long Valley Senior Center November 1, 2021 435-648-2504

Enterprise Senior Center October 22, 2021 435-878-2557

Hurricane Senior Center November 1, 2021 435-635-2089

St. George Active Life Center November 5, 2021 435-634-5743

Don't miss your chance to make sure your Medicare coverage meets your current needs. Schedule your plan comparison appointment today!

During Open Enrollment, there is a higher risk than usual for fraudulent activities. Medicare has rules about how plans can and cannot communicate with you during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period to market their insurance products. Knowing how to protect yourself from, detect, and report marketing violations can help save both you and Medicare money. Plans are allowed to send you emails and/or direct mailings, but they are not allowed to call you or visit you in person to market their products without your permission. Plans who send emails must provide an opt-out option for people who no longer wish to receive them. Watch out for people who:

  • Pressure you to join their plan

  • Tell you they represent Medicare and want to offer you a service for free

  • Call you or visit your house without your permission to offer services or equipment

  • Offer free consultations only to people with Medicare and ask for your Medicare number

  • Inform you that you will lose your Medicare benefits unless you sign up for a certain plan

  • Require you to provide contact information at an event for a plan (Note that contact information provided for raffles or drawings may only be used for that purpose)

Before you enroll in a plan, make sure you understand what the plan covers, how it affects your Medicare benefits and other health benefits (like Medicaid or your retiree/union coverage), and whether it covers the drugs you need. An agent or broker should never pressure you to join a plan. If you feel an insurance agent has violated Medicare’s marketing rules, you should save all documents (such as an agent's business card or marketing materials) or other suspicious information, such as recorded messages, and contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). Your SMP can help you identify and report marketing violations, as well as other forms of Medicare fraud and abuse.

Amy Brinkerhoff has worked for the Five County Association of Governments for almost ten years. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2008 with a degree in Sociology. Amy has been a SHIP counselor since her first week at Five County and now serves as Coordinator for the SHIP and SMP programs, where she offers one-on-one Medicare Counseling and teaches classes on Medicare topics and Fraud prevention.

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