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Sarasota Seniors Can Get Help Preparing for Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period

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The SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program, in partnership with the Sarasota Memorial Memory Disorder Clinic, reminds Florida Medicare beneficiaries to carefully evaluate their health care needs and seek assistance to prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

With the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period quickly approaching (Nov. 15 - Dec. 31), now is a good time to review your current health care and prescription drug coverage. The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a local source for information and assistance to help seniors through this important period.

With so many options that vary by location, it is important to understand what choices are available. Trained SHINE volunteers provide Medicare beneficiaries who have questions or concerns about their Medicare and Insurance coverage, a place to turn to get objective help comparing plans and obtaining the best coverage to meet their needs.

Specially trained SHINE volunteer counselors provide free information and assistance at locations throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, Desoto and Sarasota counties. A SHINE volunteer counselor is now available every Friday at the Memory Disorder Clinic office, located at the Institute for Advanced Medicine, 5880 Rand Blvd., Sarasota. The counselor can provide one-on-one consultation regarding your insurance questions.

In addition, an Open Enrollment Event will be held on Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Institute for Advanced Medicine downstairs from the Sarasota Hospital Memory Disorder Clinic. Individuals interested in getting help comparing plans should bring a list of medications, a list of providers (e.g., doctor or pharmacy), and any notices from an existing plan (i.e., Annual Notice of Change), Social Security, or Medicare about changes to costs and coverage for next year. For more information, call the Elder Helpline toll-free at 800-963-5337 and ask to be connected with a SHINE counselor.

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