Open Accessibility Menu

Free Seminars Help You Examine Your Options During Medicare Open Enrollment

If you are enrolled in Medicare, the upcoming open enrollment period is a good time to examine your options. Is your plan right for you? Have there been any changes in the last year that affect your coverage? You can learn more about the options available to you at three upcoming seminars.

Washington Hospital will present “Get to Know Your Medicare Options” on Wednesday, October 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. “Medicare Part D Prescription Plan Update for Open Enrollment” will be held on Monday, October 12, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and “Medicare Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know” is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. The free seminars will be held at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. Register online at or call 800.963.7070 for more information.

“It’s important to review your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or your Advantage Plan every year because the plan that is good for you one year may not be the best plan for you the next,” said presenter Kristi Caracappa, health insurance information service coordinator at Washington Hospital. “Some plans change and new plans become available.”

Caracappa will provide updates on any new changes to Medicare, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage Plans. At the Medicare Part D seminar, she will provide more details about how the prescription drug plans work and what you need to consider when evaluating the different plans, such as what your annual out-of-pocket expenses will be with each plan.

Who is Eligible for Medicare

You qualify for Medicare when you turn 65, or earlier if you have a disability. You need to have worked at least 10 years throughout your lifetime. If you didn’t work long enough, you may be eligible through your spouse.

At the time of enrollment, you can choose a Medicare plan that best suits your needs, such as a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medigap Plan. If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you have the opportunity to review your Part D prescription drug plan each year during open enrollment. It’s also the time to take a look at your Medicare Advantage Plan if you have one. This year open enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7.

Medicare can be a bit confusing with the different parts and options that are available, Caracappa acknowledged. Medicare comes in four parts: A, B, C, and D. Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B.

Part A is hospital insurance and covers most medically necessary care by a hospital or skilled nursing facility as well as home health and hospice care.

Part B is medical insurance and covers most medically necessary doctors’ services, preventive care, medical equipment, hospital outpatient services, laboratory tests, x-rays, mental health care, and some home health and ambulance services.

Part D provides outpatient prescription drug coverage. Part D is provided through private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare.

Advantage Plans

You can choose to get your Medicare coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan, which is Part C, instead of Original Medicare with a Medigap Plan or supplement. Medicare Advantage Plans are health plans offered by private insurance companies such as health maintenance organizations (HMO) or preferred provider organizations (PPO). Most offer prescription drug coverage.

“If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes a Part D prescription drug plan, you do not enroll in a separate Part D prescriptions drug plan,” Caracappa explained. “That’s why it is important review both your Medicare Part D and your Advantage Plan during the open enrollment period.”

There will be a question-and-answer session at the end of each seminar and attendees who want additional assistance can set up an appointment to review their plans with Caracappa through Washington Hospitals’ Health Insurance Information Service. The free and confidential service can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your health insurance, including Medicare.

For more information about Washington Hospital’s Health Insurance Information Service, visit or call (800) 770-9447. To learn about other classes and seminars offered at Washington Hospital, visit