UNION COUNTY — Medicare and Part D prescription drug plan open enrollment begins Thursday, Oct. 15, and runs to Dec. 7. The Northeast Oregon Network and Grande Ronde Hospital both offer assistance in connecting people who are eligible for Medicare with those who can guide them through the enrollment process.

“In normal times, Medicare is a complex program,” said Chiqui Flowers, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program administrator. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, open enrollment will be harder to navigate, but we are available to serve beneficiaries and we’ll get through this hard time together.”

According to Northeast Oregon Network’s outreach programs coordinator Holly Sorensen, “NEON is able to assist with Oregon Health Plan and the Health Insurance Marketplace application processes, but when consumers eligible for Medicare request assistance we do our best to provide a warm hand-off to local insurance agents with expertise in Medicare and we also provide the phone number for SHIBA and information about how they can help.”

For more information about the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program visit www.SHIBA.Oregon.gov or call the SHIBA central office at 1-800-722-4134.

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