image of barnstable county courthouse

News from SHINE – July 2017


The Open Enrollment Period (Oct 15 – Dec 7, 2017) for Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) and Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) will be here before you know it and it is very important to re-evaluate your Medicare options for 2018 during this period. Each year Medicare plans can change premiums, deductibles, co-pays and the prescription formulary (list of drugs they cover). In addition, Medicare Advantage Plans (HMOs, PPOs) often add and/or drop primary and specialty physicians, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals.

Your current plan is required to notify you by September 30, 2017, of any changes for the coming year. This letter is called the Annual Notice of Coverage (ANOC) – please make sure you review it. If you decide to stay with your current plan there is no further action required. If you switch your Medicare Advantage (Part C)  or Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan during the Open Enrollment Period it will take effect January 1, 2018 (Please note – this enrollment period may not affect you if you have retiree coverage).

SHINE appointments fill up quickly so don’t forget to call your local senior center late September or early October to make your SHINE appointment for this year’s open enrollment.

Remember- don’t wait until it is too late. If you don’t make a change during the Open Enrollment Period (Oct 15 – Dec 7, 2017) you may have to stay with your existing plan for another whole year.

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.