The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the official beginning of the Medicare Open Enrollment period.  Individuals with Medicare can now shop for a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2016! The Medicare Open Enrollment period is October 15 through December 7, 2015. 

There are multiple resources to evaluate the different coverage options and select the right plan:

Individuals and caregivers can also get one-on-one assistance from the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).  Local SHIP assistance for each state can be found at www.medicare.gov/contacts/organization-search-criteria.aspx.  Ohioans can contact the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) at 1 (800) 686-1578, also available at http://www.insurance.ohio.gov/Consumer/Pages/ConsumerTab2.aspx.

Medicare beneficiaries can receive financial assistance, see "Extra Help" at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp/ or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users: 1-800-325-0778).

It is never too early to start this process.  Open Enrollment only lasts until December 7, 2015.