Multnomah County to offer free counseling about Medicare changes

October 4, 2016

Health and drug insurance coverage plans change every year. This year, members of Medicare health or drug plans should pay especially close attention to their “Plan Annual Notice of Change.”

The “Plan Annual Notice of Change” packet, which recipients must receive from their current plan by Sept. 30, contains specific information about changes in coverage, costs or participating providers that will be effective in January.

Some costly changes may be hidden in this year’s document.

For example, the drug deductible for 2017 that must be paid before prescription coverage begins has increased for many plans. Some health plans have higher premiums or out-of-pocket costs.

Other plans have increased the amount that participants pay for doctor visits, ambulance services, or other benefits.

The Multnomah County Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program will provide one-on-one counseling to help citizens understand the changes, identify important issues and compare their current coverage with the Medicare plans available for 2017.

The annual Medicare open enrollment period, during which you can switch plans, begins Oct. 15 and extends through Dec. 7.

“Choosing Medicare coverage is very individual, and people approach it differently,” said SHIBA Program Coordinator Janet Bowman. “There are basic questions to ask: Does the plan cover my prescriptions?  Does it cover the doctors I want to see? Can I afford the costs?  With many choices available, citizens can find plans to meet their needs. We are here to help them with the search.”

Medicare enrollment assistance will be available at local libraries beginning in October.  Participants must register in advance for the one-on-one counseling sessions.

Medicare participants can find more information about Medicare plans at, and in the “Medicare and You 2017” handbook mailed to households.

Enrollment Events (appointments are required):

These provide individual one hour appointments with a trained, impartial SHIBA counselor to compare plans. Call 503-988-3646 to schedule an appointment.  Please do not call the library.

TUE 10/18   Hillsdale Library         1525 SW Sunset Blvd. Portland 97219

MON  10/24   Hollywood Library      4040 NE Tillamook Portland 97212       

WED  11/2     Midland Library          805 SE 122nd Ave. Portland 97233

TUE   11/8     Hollywood Library      4040 NE Tillamook Portland 97212       

MON  11/14   St.Johns Library         7510 N. Charleston Portland 97203

FRI    11/18   Hollywood Library      4040 NE Tillamook Portland 97212

MON  11/21   Midland Library          805 SE 122nd Ave Portland 97233

MON  11/28   Midland Library          805 SE 122nd Ave Portland 97233

MON  12/5    Midland Library           805 SE 122nd Ave Portland 97233


For more information on all events, contact Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services Helpline at 503-988-3646.