Medicare open enrollment period is underway

The Medicare open enrollment period is underway, and will conclude Dec. 7, according to an announcement from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The open enrollment period is the time for Medicare recipients to review their current coverage and decide if there are better coverage options based on changes to plans, budget or health needs.

During the open enrollment period, people can decide to stay with the original Medicare coverage or join a Medicare Advantage Plan. They can also change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or choose a different prescription drug plan.

Any changes selected will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

There is free help available by calling 1-800-633-4227 and asking for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program does not represent insurance companies. It is funded by the federal government to assist Medicare beneficaries for free. Program representatives can help with enrollment over the phone or in person.