SAGE Eldercare, the host agency for Medicare SHIP (State Health Insurance

Assistance Program), is once again providing free and confidential counseling to Medicare beneficiaries who are residents of Union County during the 2010 Medicare Part D Open Enrollment period which takes place  fromNovember 15 through December 31, 2010.

For individuals unaware of what Medicare Part D is, it is the prescription drug benefit plan that many individuals have as a part of their overall package. There are a variety of options offered by different insurance companies that participate in the program offer. During enrollment, those on Medicare may be enrolling for the first time or may be making modifications to coverage already in place. Because health conditions and other changes can occur from year-to-year, it is best to evaluate options annually to learn about potential savings on premiums and on the cost of medications.

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Yearly Medicare Part D open enrollment allows for those on Medicare to have quality health care. With the options that are available during Medicare Part D open enrollment, senior citizens and the disabled can have complete medical control over their lives. Even those who have never participated in making changes during the enrollment period can begin doing so this year.

If enrollment is not completed by December 31, 2010 it will be necessary to wait until the open enrollment period of 2011. Union County Medicare beneficiaries who need help on how to make choices during the Open Enrollment Program can call for free and confidential assistance to SAGE Eldercare's Medicare SHIP program at 908-273-6999 and leave a message. A SHIP counselor will return your call.  SHIP of Union County is administered by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the Division of Senior Affairs. Please visit SAGE’s website at www.sageeldercare.orgto see the latest news and offerings at SAGE Eldercare.