Open Enrollment is October 15 through December 7

BERGEN COUNTY, NJ - The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) of Bergen County provides free help to Bergen County Medicare beneficiaries and those turning age 65 soon who have questions about their Medicare health insurance.

SHIP is a state-wide program administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services with financial assistance through a grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL).    

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Bergen County SHIP counselors, trained in health insurance coverage and benefits that affect Medicare beneficiaries, provide free and confidential assistance to residents to help them understand their benefits, compare plans and policies, and untangle claims problems. For further assistance, please contact the Bergen County SHIP at (201) 336-7413.

“If you are turning 64 this year, it is not too early to learn about Medicare,” says Lorraine Joewono, Director of Bergen County Division of Senior Services. “Most people know that you are eligible to enroll in Medicare at age 65, but did you know that delaying enrollment, even for a year or two, could result in monthly financial penalties for life, should you decide to participate at a later date?”

Additionally, the Bergen County SHIP counselors have information about several Medicare Savings Programs.  These programs can help individuals living on a low income, with limited resources, save an average of $300 a month in Medicare Part D prescription costs, or over $100 month in Medicare Part B premiums, if qualified.  Information about the state funded prescription assistance program – PAAD -- is also available, which helps eligible Medicare beneficiaries cut their out-of-pocket Part D costs.

For those who are currently part of the Medicare system, Fall is the time to revisit health plans.  Open Enrollment occurs between October 15 and December 7, when current Medicare health and drug coverage can be reviewed and changes can be made.  Even if current coverage has been satisfactory, it is beneficial to explore other plans that may offer better health and/or drug coverage at a more affordable price.

“All it takes is one phone call to speak with our trained SHIP counselors who can help you enroll in Medicare for the first time, adjust your current coverage during Open Enrollment, and more,” said Ms. Joewono.

Bergen County SHIP offers office appointments in Hackensack, Bergenfield and Mahwah, and will be making several educational presentations throughout the County during the Fall Open Enrollment period.  For more information, contact the Bergen County SHIP at 201-336-7413. 

SHIP is administered through the Bergen County Division of Senior Services/ADRC.  SHIP counselors do not provide legal advice and do not sell, recommend or endorse any specific insurance product, agent or insurance company.