Medicare Open Enrollment

Oct 18, 2019

Medicare’s Open Enrollment for 2020 began this week on October 15, and will continue until December 7, 2019.  During this time period, Medicare beneficiaries may make changes to their health care and prescription drug plans, which will take effect January 1, 2020. Except for special circumstances, this is the only time Medicare recipients may change their insurance plans.

Massachusetts offers an excellent Medicare counseling service called SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone). The SHINE Program is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with elder service agencies, councils on aging or public and private community-based organizations. Certified SHINE counselors help people navigate the complex Medicare insurance system. There is no charge for SHINE services in Massachusetts. Because of the complexity of Medicare, anyone attending a SHINE program is welcome to bring along a friend or family member.

The SHINE Program has scheduled special 2020 Medicare Plan Review days throughout the North Shore during the open enrollment period. Existing Medicare enrollees can make appointments to meet individually with a SHINE counselor to compare plan options for 2020, and will receive a report that explains their top three most cost-effective Medicare plan options for next year. There is no charge to attend a Medicare Plan Review day.

Advance registration at the Medicare Plan Review days is required, and attendees are asked to bring their red, white and blue Medicare card, their current insurance cards, and their medication list with dosage information.  In the north shore area, the following Medicare Plan Review days have been scheduled.  Please call the host agency to make an individual appointment.

Date                                    Host Location                                                                              Phone

October 21                        Rose Baker Senior Center, Gloucester                              978-281-9765

October 23                        Dunstable Library                                                                       978-649-4514

October 25                        Billerica Senior Center                                                              978-671-0916

October 28                        Rowley Council on Aging, Rowley Library                         978-948-7637

October 30                        Dracut Council on Aging                                                          978-957-2611

November 1                     Phoenix Row, Haverhill                                                           978-372-7597

November 4                     Lowell Council on Aging                                                           978-674-1172

November 7                     Merrimac Senior Center                                                         978-346-9549

November 8                     SeniorCare, Gloucester                                                           978-281-1750

November 12                  Georgetown Senior Center                                                   978-352-5726

November 13                  Beverly Senior Center                                                              978-921-6017

November 14                  Tyngsboro Senior Center                                                        978-649-9211

November 15                  Amesbury Senior Center                                                        978-388-8138

November 18                  Merrivista, Haverhill                                                                 978-374-2168

November 19                  Mission Towers, Haverhill                                                      978-374-2174

November 22                  Haverhill Council on Aging                                                      978-374-2390

November 26                  Newburyport Community/Senior Center                        978-462-0430

SHINE Counselors are also available throughout the year for people new to Medicare and existing enrollees. These services are available to all Massachusetts residents at no charge.  Year-round SHINE counseling locations follow. Please call the host agency for scheduling and reservations.

Host Agency                                                                                      Phone

Amesbury Council on Aging                                                         978-388-8138

Andover Council on Aging                                                            978-623-8321

Merrimack Valley Immigrant Education Center                   978-683-7316

Beverly Senior Center                                                                    978-921-6017

Billerica Council on Aging                                                              978-671-0916

Boxford Council on Aging                                                             978-887-3591

Chelmsford Council on Aging                                                      978-251-0533

Dracut Council on Aging                                                                978-957-2611

Essex Senior Center                                                                        978-768-7932

Georgetown Senior Community Center                                978-352-5726

Gloucester: Rose Baker Senior Center                                    978-281-9765

Gloucester: Addison Gilbert Hospital                                      978-283-4001

Gloucester: SeniorCare                                                                 978-281-1750

Groveland Council on Aging                                                        978-372-1101

Hamilton Council on Aging                                                           978-468-5595

Haverhill Council on Aging                                                            978-374-2390

Haverhill Bethany Homes – Merrivista                                    978-374-2168

Haverhill Bethany Homes – Mission Towers                         978-374-2174

Haverhill Bethany Homes – Phoenix Row                              978-372-7597

Ipswich Council on Aging                                                              978-356-6650

Lawrence Senior Center                                                               978-620-3540

Lowell Council on Aging                                                                 978-674-1172

Manchester-By-The-Sea Council on Aging                            978-526-7500

Merrimac Council on Aging                                                          978-346-9549

Methuen Council on Aging                                                          978-983-8825

Newbury Council on Aging                                                           978-462-8114

Newburyport Council on Aging                                                  978-462-8650

North Andover Senior Center                                                    978-688-9560

Rockport Council on Aging                                                           978-546-2573

Rowley Council on Aging                                                               978-948-7637

Salisbury Council on Aging                                                            978-462-2412

Tewksbury Council on Aging                                                       978-640-4480

Topsfield Council on Aging                                                           978-887-1523

Tyngsboro Council on Aging                                                        978-649-9211

Wenham Council on Aging                                                           978-468-5529

West Newbury Council on Aging                                               978-363-1104

Westford Council on Aging                                                          978-692-5523

If you are new to Medicare, the SHINE Program will hold an Introduction to Medicare workshop at the Ipswich Senior Center on Wednesday, October 23.  Please call 978-356-6650 for details and pre-registration.

If you are unable to attend one of the 2020 Medicare Plan Review days or schedule an appointment with one of the SHINE counselors during their usual schedules, please contact the SHINE Coordination office at the Elder Services of Merrimac Valley at 978-946-1374 to arrange for assistance with your 2020 Medicare decisions.