Today begins Medicare's Open Enrollment period (October 15 – December 7); a time for Medicare beneficiaries to review cost and/or coverage from their Medicare plan. Changes can be made to the health plan and/or the prescription drug plan.
Whether this is your first year on a Medicare health or prescription drug plan, or your thirtieth, now is an exciting time to be a part of Medicare plans. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, beneficiaries with an average plan will end up with nearly $5,000 in medical and prescription drug savings through 2022, if not more. The Affordable Care Act also makes it easier to stay healthy through more covered preventive services from your local health care provider. You can read more about the savings benefits to Medicare beneficiaries from the Affordable Care Act here. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act is ensuring that persons with Medicare have access to more high quality health and prescription drug plans. To learn more about the changes for 2013 thanks to the new health care law, click here.
There are many resources available during this Open Enrollment period to help determine if any changes need to be made to your plan. It's at least important to review your Medicare benefits plan once a year since there are often changes made on the insurance end, and since your health may have changed a bit over the past year. Several resources that may be helpful to you in Missouri include:
- Medicare.gov Website
- U.S. DHHS – Medicare: Stronger Than Ever
- Missouri CLAIM (State Health Insurance Assistance Program)
- NCOA Medicare Open Enrollment Tips for Consumers
- Medicare Part D 7 Simply Steps (My Medicare Matters – NCOA)
Many other resources do exist to assist you, the consumer, with making the best decision while taking into account your health. Missouri CLAIM is an especially beneficial resource for Missourians because of the large number of counselors that they have available to help answer your questions. All services are free. With the Medicare Open Enrollment period now open, there are three specific ways that CLAIM counselors can assist you. First, you can call their toll-free number (1-800-390-3330; 9a-4p Mon-Fri) and a counselor will return your call within a few days. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can fill out an online form to request assistance/more information. Finally, you can attend an event where CLAIM counselors will be located; check out the events calendar to find an event near you!
Taking various steps to become informed about how your health insurance can work for you is an important facet to being a good self-manager. Utilize some of the above resources, talk with friends and family, or seek out your own information regarding your Medicare benefits over the next seven weeks!