Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their prescription and health plans once a year. These changes could result in savings on medical costs, or increased access to new benefits such as wellness visits and preventive care services.
Changes to Medicare health plans can only be made between October 15 and December 7, 2011. They will take effect on January 1, 2012.
Saving Money Is Just One of the Benefits
The open enrollment period is available for people who receive health coverage directly from Medicare as well as those who receive coverage from private insurance companies approved by Medicare. In other words:
• Members who receive benefits directly from Medicare can switch to a Medicare-approved private insurance company or the other way around.
• Members can switch from one Medicare-approved private insurance company to another.
• Changing plans may mean more savings on out-of-pocket costs, as well as prescription drugs. Beneficiaries may also be able to choose or change their doctor or pharmacy.
It's Worth Comparing
Comparing plans is the best way to figure out if it's worth making any changes.
Medicare has a plan finder that lets you compare the cost and range of services from health providers in your area. By using this tool you can:
• See what types of drugs are covered under each health plan
• Calculate out-of-pocket expenses
• See how satisfied current members are with a specific health plan
How to Get Help
Medicare.gov has several resources to help you understand the different types of coverage.
If you still have questions you can get personalized help in your area by searching by topic and getting helpful contacts and websites. You can also always call Medicare at 1 (800) 447-8477.
Watch out for Scammers
Scammers are always looking to take advantage of people, especially when there are changes to Medicare services. Be on the lookout for people trying to sell unsolicited products or services under the guise of Medicare services, as they might try to steal your identity. You should protect your Medicare number as well as your Social Security number.
You can report Medicare fraud online or call 1 (800) 447-8477.
América: Hazardous to immigrants’ health?
America is a nation of immigrants drawn from all parts of the world by the promise of freedom and a good life. But a substantial body of evidence suggests that for the newly arrived, life in the United States can be hazardous to their well-being.
When immigrants arrive, they are on average ...
Too many Latino children are uninsured
A recent study last month finds that over 11 percent of Latino children are uninsured, compared to 7.1 percent of all kids nationwide. Study author Sonya Schwartz is a research fellow with the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families, which released the ...
Farmworkers in unpredictable situations
In the exposé “Food Chains”, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.
There is ...
Taking the fracking fight to big oil
Rosanna Esparza parks her Prius in a sea of pickups. Across the street a makeshift flagpole has been erected in a truck bed to hoist Old Glory above the palm trees. We’re in Taft, California; a town built on one of the largest oil fields in the country. It’s a fitting place for the local ...