State Agency Offering Help During Last Week Of Medicare Open Enrollment

Dec 3, 2012

Medicare open enrollment season ends Friday for those looking to change or sign onto a health program. A Washington state agency has open arms for those scrambling for insurance advice.

The experts go by the acronym SHIBA, Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisers. Program specialist Kathy Dugan says their volunteers in Spokane and Whitman Counties provide counseling to adults about health insurance, but the bulk of their work regards Medicare.

Dugan: “What we do is we set up open enrollment workshops here at Aging and Long-term Care on Tuesdays, from 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. And people can just walk in and bring their list of medications with them, their information about what they currently have, their Medicare cards.”

At this office and in all other Washington counties, SHIBA helps new Medicare patients as well. Idaho’s SHIBA offices will help people with existing plans only.

After Tuesday’s workshop, Spokane advisers will be at the Shadle Center and in Pullman on Wednesday. They will take calls up until the Friday deadline for open-enrollment procrastinators.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio