Logo: SHIBA, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington State

Whatcom SHIBA


Insurance options counseling for

Medicare-eligible individuals



Reconsidering your Medicare Advantage Plan?

From January 1st to March 31st, take advantage of the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period!

While the annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15th – December 7th) recently ended, there may be another opportunity to adjust your 2022 Medicare coverage:

During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1st – March 31st), you CAN:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan & switch back to Original Medicare & Part D coverage (stand-alone Medicare drug plan)

This period DOES NOT ALLOW you to:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Join a separate Medicare drug plan if you only have Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another if you’re in Original Medicare.

You can only make one change during this period, & any changes you make will be
effective the first of the month after the plan gets your request. If you’re returning
to Original Medicare & joining a separate Medicare drug plan, you don’t need to
contact your Medicare Advantage Plan to disenroll. The disenrollment will happen
automatically when you join the drug plan

Don’t know where to start with Medicare?

You’ve come to the right place:

SHIBA advisors can help you with: 

  • Understanding the various aspects of Medicare such as benefits, enrollment, costs, plan differences, and more. 
  • Evaluating, comparing, and enrolling in options available in Whatcom County as approved by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. 
  • Screening and enrolling in cost-saving programs such as Extra Help, Medicare Savings Programs, and prescription assistance options. 
  • Reporting fraud, complaints, grievances, and appeals to the OIC or your insurance company. 
  • Connecting to adjacent services and assistance at other agencies and programs such as SSA, CMS, DSHS, HCA, VA, PEBB, WA HealthPlanFinder, Northwest Regional Council, etc. 

Public SHIBA presentations and seminars are available to your group or organization. Please contact us with inquiries at (360) 788-2725. 

About SHIBA:

SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors) is a free, confidential, and impartial counseling resource sponsored by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Volunteer SHIBA advisors are highly trained and experienced to counsel Medicare-eligible residents of all ages and backgrounds. They will help you understand your rights and options, and offer up-to-date information so that you can make informed decisions concerning your health insurance needs.

Watch a recording of SHIBA Webinar:

SHIBA SMP “Senior Scams & Medicare Fraud” Webinar, 7/22

 Assistance with Non-Medicare Health Care Coverage Options: 

Unity Care Northwest Community Health Center:
(360) 788-2669
Email: enrollment@nullucnw.org
Website: www.ucnw.org/insurance-resources-and-enrollment 

Sea Mar Community Health Center:
Bellingham: (360) 671-3225
Everson: (360) 354-0766
Email: seamaripa@nullseamarchc.org 

Washington HealthPlanFinder:
1 (855) 923-4633
Website: wahealthplanfinder.org 

Become a SHIBA volunteer

Help your friends, neighbors and family learn more about health insurance and public programs! SHIBA Volunteers receive 30 hours of basic health insurance training, monthly updates, and ongoing supervision and support by a staff member of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. To express interest or learn more, please contact the SHIBA Program at:

(360) 788-2725 or shiba@nulloppco.org.

Medicare Reference Materials & Plan Info

Comparison Charts:

Booklets, Brochures, and Flyers:

Upcoming Events

Event Name
(Click to read description & REGISTER)



Event Type

Welcome to Medicare (via Whatcom Community College) Monday 2/7 6:30 – 8:30 PM ZOOM Webinar
Welcome to Medicare (via Whatcom Community College) Tuesday 3/29 6:30 – 8:30 PM ZOOM Webinar

Need Help? Contact SHIBA: