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Senior Citizen's Guide

Ohio Insurance Department

Medicare Checkup Days Across the State

Learning what type of coverage works best for those on Medicare will be the focus off the Ohio Department of Insurance starting in the fall and running through December 31. The Department is conducting a series of Medicare Check-Up Days in each of Ohio's 88 counties. The Check-Up Days complement Medicare's annual open enrollment or "coordinated election" period, which starts November 15 and ends December 31. People on Medicare have several options they can learn about. They can choose Original Medicare for their health coverage needs and pair it with a stand-alone Part D plan to get their prescription drug coverage. They could also select a Medicare Advantage Plan, which provides comprehensive health benefits including drug coverage; or they may determine their existing coverage already meets their health insurance needs. Medicare coverage secured through open enrollment will begin January 1, 2009.

"These events provide a great opportunity for people with Medicare to learn about their plan options and how to secure the appropriate coverage," said Mary Jo Hudson, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. At each Check-Up Day, the Department's Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) representatives will provide information on recent Medicare changes, explain the different coverage options, run comparison reports on various plans and advise beneficiaries if they can coordinate other coverages such as Veterans Administration along with that of Part D.

For events Nov. 15 and later, OSHIIP can help beneficiaries enroll in their Medicare coverage of choice. Now in its 16th year, OSHIIP is the state's lead program for Medicare information and enrollment assistance.

Other topics include significant savings on prescription drug costs for those with limited incomes; how to save using retail discount drug plans; drug company patient assistance programs; Medicare's preventive benefits and managing expenses during the Part D coverage "doughnut hole," or gap in coverage.

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