Rep. Kelly Holds Medicare Open Enrollment Period Telephone Town Hall

Nov 21, 2012 Issues: Health Care

Rep. Kelly Holds Medicare Open Enrollment Period Telephone Town Hall

Washington, D.C. --  On Monday, November 19, U.S. Representative Kelly (PA-03) held a telephone town hall on the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which ends December 7.

More than 10,000 residents from throughout the Third District dialed in to hear from and ask questions to local and regional representatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Social Security Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

Knowing when you can sign up for or change your Medicare plan can sometimes be confusing. The telephone town hall meeting was designed to help Third District residents learn more about their options, including who can sign up, when you can sign up, and how the timing can affect your costs.

While more than 100 questions were submitted throughout the call, below is a brief overview of some of the main questions asked and information provided.  

Coverage Overlap

We received numerous questions about how Medicare coverage overlaps with private insurance. This is commonly referred to as Medicare Overlap and there is not a one size fits all answer. We recommend directly contacting your private insurance plan and work with Medicare representative to understand coverage levels. One of the best resources for free personalized counseling on Your Coverage Choices, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). In Pennsylvania, the SHIP is APPRISE, and their number is 1-800-783-7067.


A majority of the concerns from participants surrounded their eligibility. You are eligible to sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during the 7 month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

If you have access to the internet, this tool|Home|MyEnrollment#TabTop takes your birth date and gives you all the dates and enrollment info.  It also has a calculator for determining your penalties based on your own details. It is a great service. If you are not able to access the internet

Drug Coverage/Donut Hole-

The Medicare donut hole is formally known as the Part D coverage gap. It lies between the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic coverage threshold. After a Medicare beneficiary exits the initial coverage of prescription drug plan, the beneficiary is financially responsible for a higher cost of prescription drugs until he or she reaches the catastrophic coverage threshold. For more information about your current drug coverage, contact your benefits administrator, insurer, or plan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issues “Your Guide to Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage” (CMS Product No. 11109), which explains the various options beneficiaries have for prescription drug coverage. 

To learn more about the various coverage plans and any other issue related to Medicare, callers were encouraged contact any of the numbers below or Rep. Kelly’s district offices for further assistance.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Program (CMS)

 1-800 MEDICARE (633-4227) – 24/7 toll free line will assist with plan searches, provide local contact information and answer general Medicare questions

Social Security Administration (SSA)

1- 800-772-1213:  SSA determines the eligibility and enrolls Medicare beneficiaries, also determine the Part B premium (or any late enrollment penalty)

APPRISE (the PA State Health Information & Assistance Program (SHIP) run out of the PA Dept. of Aging)

1- 800-783-7067: Operational from 9am-4pm Monday-Friday except for Holidays (Thanksgiving and day after – in regards to the Open Enrollment Period)

The telecenter is able to provide basic Medicare information, refers to local APPRISE programs and informs them of Enrollment Events, Informational Events, etc. (On the front page of the website, there is information on the Open Enrollment Period and a list of Medicare-related events in each county.)

Local APPRISE Program Phone Numbers:

Mercer Area Agency on Aging



Greater Erie Community Action Committee

Erie County Area Agency on Aging



Armstrong Co. Area Agency on Aging



Clarion Area Agency on Aging


Butler County Area Agency on Aging



Warren – Experience Inc.



Crawford – Active Aging



 Rep. Kelly’s District Offices

Phone: 724-282-2557

Phone: 814-454-8190

Phone: 724-885-1113

Meadville Office
Phone: 814-454-8190