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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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SHIIP offers help with confusing health care choices

SHIIP offers help with confusing health care choices

If you are a Medicare recipient, or will become one in 2016, you need to be aware of the enrollment periods for joining, switching, or leaving Medicare.

To some 65-years of age or older, and certain younger people with disabilities, understanding and making choices within the Medicare plan is a necessary but daunting and dreaded task, nonetheless required for participation in the government insurance plan.

Medicare parts “C” and “D” offer two open enrollments periods, one which began on October 15 and runs until December 7. During this first period, you may enroll, switch and/or drop coverage plans as you wish.
Part “C” covers Medicare Advantage Plans, which are simply Medicare plans offered by private insurance companies.

Part “D” enrollment involves the choice of Medicare coverage for prescription drugs.

During the second enrollment period, January 1 through February 14, participants can enroll but are limited in their choices.

During the second period, switching is not permitted, unless you are switching from an Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.


Well, take heart. The state of Louisiana is offering a program called SHIIP, or Senior Health Insurance Information Program.

The program is sponsored by State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon’s Department of Insurance and offers counselors who have the resources to answer any question you might have regarding Medicare choices which are right for you.

SHIIP counselors offer free and confidential help and have no connection with any insurance company, nor do they promote any products.

Through SHIIP, you may be able to take advantage of money-saving programs depending on your income and assets. Even if your personal income or assets are more than the eligible limits, you may still qualify for certain programs designed to reduce your payments.

SHIIP is a completely free service which does not offer legal assistance, does not make your decisions for you, nor does it try to sell you anything.

For more information on SHIIP, stop by the Lafourche Parish Council on Aging’s office at the Mathews Government Complex, or call COA at (985) 532-0457.

The service is completely free by calling the state office at 800-259-5300, or by visiting