Maui News

Resources Available for Navigating Upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment

August 24, 2021, 3:37 PM HST
* Updated August 24, 3:40 PM
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Photo Credit: Medicare.gov

Medicare is the federal health insurance program that helps pay for healthcare services for kupuna 65 years and older as well as people with disabilities or end-stage renal disease. The valuable program has many different components and can be challenging to understand and navigate. It can be difficult to know who to trust for objective, non-commercial information.

The Hawai‘i State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which is part of the state’s Executive Office on Aging, has provided local, trusted and unbiased Medicare help for Hawai‘i residents for nearly 30 years.

SHIP is offering a number of resources for kupuna in safe, socially distanced venues, including phone consultations and virtual meetings to prepare for Medicare’s annual open enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2021.

The open enrollment period offers Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to review their healthcare needs and current Medicare plan to determine if they would like to keep their plan or change to another one. It’s also an opportunity for new Medicare beneficiaries to sign up for a plan.

  • Virtual Open House: Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, 10 – 11 am. Hawaiʻi SHIP will hold its first virtual open house to explain the benefits of joining Hawaiʻi SHIP as a potential volunteer or partner. Register here.
  • “Project Grad 65:” Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, 11 am – 1 pm. “Project Grad 65” is a virtual joint presentation by Hawaiʻi SHIP and the Honolulu office of the Social Security Administration. The presentation is designed for individuals turning 65 and “graduating” into Medicare or for those recently enrolled in Medicare. Topics will include Social Security benefits and Medicare Basics. Register here
  • Phone consultations: SHIP’s certified counselors are available to review the current plans and healthcare needs of Medicare beneficiaries and provide updates to original Medicare (Parts A & B), Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) for 2022.

Make phone or Zoom counseling appointments through the Hawaiʻi SHIP website at https://hawaiiship.org or by calling the Hawaiʻi SHIP Helpline at (808) 586-7299 or toll-free: 1-888-875-9229. The pre-recorded message on the Hawaiʻi SHIP Helpline asks to leave your name, phone number, email address, zip code, a brief message about your question, and the days and times you prefer to be called. A Medicare counselor will contact those who have made an appointment within two to five business days.

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