SHIIP counselors ready to assist Iowans as Medicare Open Enrollment begins

Released: 10/05/20

A new process is in place due to COVID-19

Which Medicare Part D and/or Medicare Advantage plan will be best for you next year?  Open enrollment for Iowans on Medicare who want to change plans is underway October 15-December 7, 2020.  Iowans who miss the open enrollment deadline most likely will have to wait a full year before making changes to their plan. Changes to Medicare plans will be effective January 1, 2021.

The Iowa Insurance Division’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is available to offer free, unbiased and confidential assistance to Iowans in this process.  Volunteer counselors can help people understand their Medicare benefits by:

  • Checking a client’s current Part D or Medicare Advantage plan to make sure drugs are covered at the lowest cost and with the least amount of restrictions
  • Reviewing a client’s employer coverage and comparing it to other Medicare options
  • Checking to see if clients are eligible for Part D “Extra Help”
  • Providing education to help clients understand options if not currently on a drug plan

COVID-19 modifications for local Medicare help

SHIIP is a free, confidential service of the State of Iowa.  SHIIP counselors review all plans offered and do not promote any particular plan or company.  This year, seniors interested in comparing plans must call 563-387-3036 and leave a message with their name, phone number and address.  SHIIP will then mail seniors information to be filled out and returned in the provided, addressed envelope.  The SHIIP counselor will run the comparisons and contact clients via phone with the results.  No SHIIP appointments will be carried out in person.

Karla Bakken, SHIIP coordinator at Winneshiek Medical Center, says, “I encourage seniors to request the comparison packet early this season and not wait.  Due to COVID-19 precautions, the entire process will take longer than clients are used to.  Those who wait until the end of the enrollment period to start the process may miss the deadline.”  The deadline for changing plans is December 7, 2020.

For SHIIP support, call Winneshiek Medical Center at 563-387-3036 and leave a message to request the comparison information packet.


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