Health insurance enrollment on

By Frank Lewis -

If you haven’t enrolled in a health insurance plan, you need to know the dates and deadlines for getting covered. open enrollment for Medicare for prescription drugs is going on now through Dec. 7, 2016 for Jan. 1, 2017 coverage.

The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), a division of the Ohio Department of Insurance, will visit Scioto County to hold a Medicare Check-Up Day event on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, at the Sciotoville Church of the Nazarene located at 518 Sycamore Street in Portsmouth. The event is a presentation only and will begin at 10 a.m.

“Our aggressive statewide efforts have begun and we are excited to help Ohioans as they make decisions about Medicare coverage,” said Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “We are holding Medicare Check-Up Day events in every county to make it easier for Ohioans to access the information they need to understand their best insurance coverage options for 2017.”

This past year, the 13th Obamacare co-op closed ahead of the 2017 open enrollment period. In June, Ohio’s InHealth Mutual announced it was shutting down.

“For the on-exchange and off-exchange open enrollment, if you are enrolled by Dec. 15 (2016), you get a Jan. 1, 2017 start date,” Gary Duzan of Portsmouth Insurance Agency said. “If you enroll by Jan. 15 (2017) you’ll get a Feb. 1 (2017) start date and if you enroll between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31, (2017) they will give you a March 1 date. Nothing after that.”

Outside the Open Enrollment Period, you generally can enroll in a health insurance plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You’re eligible if you have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby, or losing other health coverage.

Job-based plans may have different open enrollment periods. Check with your employer. You can apply and enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time of year.

During Medicare’s annual open enrollment, Ohioans can:

  • Stay on or return to Original Medicare and shop for a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Select a Medicare Advantage Plan, which provides comprehensive health benefits, typically including drug coverage.
  • Determine if their existing coverage will continue to meet their health insurance needs.

Attendees can also learn more about recent Medicare plan changes and financial assistance programs, which help pay prescription drug costs and Part B premiums.

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.