HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) is reminding consumers that the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries will be Oct. 15 and end on Dec. 7. Any new coverage selected or changed to existing benefits will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

During the period, new Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Medicare Perscription Drug Coverage, as well as health plans to complement Medicare, and current Medicare beneficiaries can review and join, switch or drop coverage that fits their needs.

In order to help people sort through their options, the department offers free, objective health benefits counseling through Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI). Through the state’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging, counselors can assist Medicare beneficiaries with plan comparisons and other Medicare issues.

Individuals can learn more about PA MEDI, events, and programs, or becoming a volunteer on the Department of Aging’s website or by calling the PA MEDI Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Older adults can also call their local AAA.

“Navigating health care options can be confusing, tedious, and overwhelming. Unfortunately, ads from brokers or agents offering enticing incentives can add to the confusion. PA MEDI counselors do not endorse any insurance company, product, or agent. When comparing insurance plan options, older adults should consider their current health situation, plan benefits, access to providers, available plans in their area, and overall costs, coverage, and convenience being offered,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “We encourage all new or current Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of the free independent counseling services available through PA MEDI. These trained counselors can help guide seniors to be more informed and confident in deciding what options may be the best for them.”