Secretary of Elder Affairs Ann Hartstein addresses SHINE counselors from the Boston region an their annual open enrollment training.

Medicare’s upcoming annual Open Enrollment Period runs from Wednesday, Oct. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 7.  According to , a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation study, 46% of people who switched their Medicare plans during open enrollment saved at least 5% the next year.

The SHINE Program assists elders and individuals with disabilities in understanding their Medicare and MassHealth benefits and other health insurance options. The SHINE program ensures that Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers have access to accurate, unbiased and up-to-date information about their health care options.

Counselors may review present coverage, provide written comparisons of plans, protect Medicare beneficiaries from paying for bills they should not pay, and prevent paying for unnecessary duplicate coverage. Counselors also help with claim forms and applications. They will make referrals when appropriate.

For more information, or to speak with a SHINE counselor, please call 617.522.9720.