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News from SHINE – June 2017

When Can You Enroll in a Medigap (Supplement) Plan?

Medigap (supplement) plans provide extra protection beyond Medicare by filling in some of the “gaps” in Medicare coverage.  In Massachusetts, the insurance companies allow continuous open enrollment.  You must have Medicare A and B to enroll, and cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (HMO, PPO).   Anyone who is eligible may enroll or change plans or coverage levels at any time, with changes effective the first of the following month.

In Massachusetts, there are two Medigap plans, Core and Supplement 1.  The Core plan pays some of the co-pays and co-insurance for Medicare-covered services, while the Supplement 1 covers all the deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays for these services. With a Medigap policy, you are free to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare and you do not need referrals to see a specialist.

Trained SHINE volunteers offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of Medicare and related health insurance programs. Please call the senior center to schedule an appointment with a SHINE counselor.

SHINE Program LogoThe Barnstable County Department of Human Services administers the regional office for the Cape and Islands SHINE Program (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone). SHINE counselors provide free health insurance information, counseling, and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers.