El Semanario
Posted on 11-03-2011

Medicare: It’s worth comparing

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.