Turning 65 soon? Been on Social Security Disability for two years? Then you are now eligible for Medicare. It is a whole new medical insurance experience with its own vocabulary, rules and deadlines.
Come to the community room at the Orcas Island Public Library on Wednesday, June 20, at 1:30 p.m. to learn how Medicare works, what your coverage options are in San Juan County and when you must act to avoid penalties. The information will be provided by trained Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) volunteers who operate under the auspices of the Washington Insurance Commissioner to provide free, unbiased counseling assistance on Orcas.
There are lots of new provisions and options for you to understand. Medicare has four different parts: A, B, C and D. You can stay with Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or buy a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap), which is private insurance that works with Part A and B. Most people also buy drug insurance (Part D). There are deadlines to meet and penalties (some lasting a lifetime) for not doing things at the right time. There are resources available to help people with very low income and limited assets pay their premiums, copays and deductibles.
SHIBA is a free, unbiased and confidential counseling service offered by the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Its trained volunteers help consumers understand their Medicare rights and options. It offers information on Medigap (Medicare supplement) and Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid programs, employment-related health benefits, long-term care options, fraud and abuse, and much more. It answers questions, makes referrals, helps evaluate and compare health insurance policies, makes public presentations and more. Call SHIBA at 360-376-5892.
Island Hospital has been the local sponsor of the SHIBA volunteers in San Juan County for the past 25 years.