Are You Prepared For Medicare Open Enrollment? – October 15th
Not to burst your bubble, but it is Medicare Open Enrollment season. You have from October 15 to December 7 to change your Medicare coverage for 2014 if you choose to.
You may get a lot of information during this time from Medicare, private insurance companies and insurance agents. Some of it may be relevant and helpful as you consider your Medicare choices. Some of it may seem confusing.
Read on to learn what to look for—and what to look out for—during Medicare Open Enrollment.
Find the Information You Need
The information you receive in the mail and from other sources can be a valuable resource. Specifically, you should receive a print or digital copy of Medicare & You, which Medicare publishes each year at the end of September. This publication outlines the benefits offered by Original Medicare for the following year. It also explains any changes that Medicare has made from the previous year. Medicare Advantage plans, which are Medicare health plans offered by private companies contracted by Medicare, must offer at least the same benefits as Original Medicare does. Many offer additional benefits as well.
A Word About Health Exchanges
The health insurance exchange, which is formally called the Health Insurance Marketplace, is part of the Affordable Care Act. It allows individuals and small businesses to see and compare the health insurance options available to them.
People receiving or eligible for Medicare benefits are not affected by the Health Insurance Marketplace. You will continue to get your health benefits from Original Medicare or private Medicare plans, which are separate from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Take Charge of Your Choices
Medicare Open Enrollment is for your benefit, in spite of the information overload you may experience.
Each year, you get this chance to choose the coverage that you think best fits your needs. Yet more than two-thirds of people surveyed in 2013 for the Medicare Made Clear Index said they haven’t shopped around for Medicare coverage in over three years. At the same time, 35 percent said they were paying more than they expected.
Changes in your health, your life, or your plan benefits and costs may mean you would be better off changing your coverage. But even if none of these things has changed, you owe it to yourself to review your Medicare coverage every year and to check out other plans that are available in your area.
Please call us at (909)792-3300 if you have any questions about your current Medicare coverage or if you need to enroll.
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