SHINE

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

It came down to the wire, but a federal agency that helps thousands of Florida seniors sign up for Medicare will be funded for another year.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

A program that helps thousands of Florida seniors sign up for Medicare could lose all of its funding by the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.

Seniors who like their Medicare choice this year, shouldn't assume it will be the same next year.

A doctor in your network this year could be out of network next year. The same goes for a prescription drug that is covered this year.

Seniors who aren't comparison shopping during Medicare open enrollment, could see their costs increase.

Colleen Krepstekies with the AARP says her agency can connect seniors to organizations that can help them navigate the enrollment process.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

A program that helps seniors choose a Medicare program and save money on prescription drugs could be going away in Florida and across the country.

Not every American 65 and older is worrying about Medicare's open enrollment period, now underway. Some who are eligible for the government insurance plan are staying on the job, and gaining access to employer-based plans they say are a better option. 

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Seniors enrolling in Medicare are facing a tough decision when it comes to which plans they should sign up for.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

There are more than 3 million people who have health insurance through Medicare in Florida and dozens of thousands of those beneficiaries could qualify for help paying insurance premiums, deductibles, co-payments and prescriptions, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs SHINE program.

.S. Department of Health and Human Services

As of Nov. 1, I will be on Medicare, which means I have to enroll this month. I should have plenty of company, since open enrollment for 2015 begins Oct. 15.

As a reporter and editor on the health-care beat, I’ve been explaining Medicare to the public since 1976. So people assume that I understand it thoroughly.  

But writing about Medicare is one thing; living it is another. For advice, I called Barbara Katz, a former reporter and lawyer who recently moved to Longboat Key from another state.  She enrolled in Medicare and a supplemental plan six years ago.