Health.TIF

People with Medicare have until Dec. 7 to make changes to their health plans and prescription drug coverage to meet their health care needs for 2021. Medicare’s open enrollment period for 2021 benefits started this week.

There are several changes for the 2021 plan year. They are:

- 29 prescription drug plans.

- More than 100 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, including a new Medicare Medical Savings Account MA option, available in all Oregon counties.

- Part D senior savings model for diabetic supplies.

- Acupuncture, telehealth, and other virtual services.

- End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans for 2021.

Visit Medicare.gov/Plan-Compare to find 2021 health and drug plans, compare coverage options, or estimate Medicare costs. For more details, check out the 2021 Medicare and You book or Medicare.gov.

The Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program is available to help beneficiaries understand their options. To find free, local Medicare counseling help, go to dcbspage.org/SHIBALOCAL or call 800-722-4134 (toll-free) to speak to a state-certified Medicare counselor.

SHIBA counselors can help Oregonians navigate the Medicare.gov Plan Finder tool to enter prescriptions and compare the cost and benefits of individual drug plans, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any other questions related to Medicare benefits. All of these services are available remotely statewide to ensure the safety of both clients and counselors.

Find local help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting SHIBA.Oregon.gov.

Window Shopping Option

Oregonians are looking for ways to protect their household budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care needs are not always something people can predict, but unexpected costs for care can cripple a budget. However, a window shopping tool allows Oregonians to see how much they can save on private health insurance coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

Oregonians can get quality coverage and financial savings through the Marketplace. The window shopping tool is now available at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop for consumers to preview plan options and receive estimates to lower costs for 2021 to prepare for open enrollment.

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 and is the only time of year many people can buy private health insurance. In 2020, more than 70 percent of Oregonians who purchased individual health insurance qualified for financial help, lowering the average premium to just $142 per month.

Visiting OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop can help you answer these questions:

What coverage do I qualify for?

How much financial help can I get?

What would my health plan cover?

What are my next steps?

“Health insurance through the Marketplace is quality coverage that protects Oregonians from current and future health issues,” said Chiqui Flowers, Marketplace administrator. “The updated tool can help Oregonians find the true cost of coverage available to them.”

For 2021, Oregonians will have more options than they had in the past few years. Regence and BridgeSpan join Providence in providing statewide coverage, and all Oregonians will be able to choose from at least 15 health insurance plans.

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