Stephanie Viola, MSW, M.Ed, LCSWA, and Karen Halpert, MD, greet visitors at the most recent medicare open-house
Stephanie Viola, MSW, M.Ed, LCSWA, and Karen Halpert, MD, greet visitors at the most recent medicare open-house

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2019 coverage has begun! The enrollment period will last until December 7th, 2018.

Do you find it confusing? Well, you are not alone. Medicare provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system through the payroll tax. It also provides health insurance to younger people with some disability status as well as people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Do you need help in understanding what Medicare Options may be best for you? You can call 855-408-1212 (toll free) Monday – Friday from 8AM – 5PM to get help from the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP).  It is a consumer information division of the NC Department of Insurance. Prefer to meet with someone? You can access a SHIIP counselor in your area online here. These services are offered at no cost to you so don’t delay.

On October 4, 2018, UNC Family Medicine in collaboration with SHIIP and other local partners offered a Medicare Open House for anyone in the community. Between 40-50 people participated in the two-hour event. People heard about how to make the most of their Medicare benefits, what is included in the Medicare wellness visits, how to prevent falls and other services aimed at helping people live their healthiest possible lives. There was also information available about other local services and programs from the YMCA, local health department, the UNC Weight Management program, and the Senior Center.

“It was great to see the community turn-out in record number to learn more about this important program,” said Sherry Hay, Director of Community Health at UNC Family Medicine. “It can be confusing to understand how to enroll and obtain the best coverage so we are pleased to collaborate with so many local partners in offering this event,” Other local partners were generous in offering prizes for the evening.