Next Tuesday begins Medicare's Open Enrollment period (October 15 – December 7). The Open Enrollment is a time for Medicare beneficiaries to review costs and/or coverage from their Medicare plan. Changes can be made to the health plan and/or the prescription drug plan.
With the Health Insurance Marketplace opening on October 1, and having a deadline of December 15 in order to get a plan by January 1, it could be easy to compare the two. And, it's easy to get confused! For individuals who have Medicare, it is not likely that they would also need to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), if you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B, you do not qualify for health insurance through the Marketplace. More information on Medicare and the Marketplace, specifically for adults age 65 and older, can be found here. If you are ages 55-64 and are looking to purchase a Marketplace plan, but are wondering how it will work with Medicare when you are eligible, you can view more information here.
There are many resources available during this Open Enrollment period (October 15 – December 7) 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)
- Medicare Part D 7 Simply Steps (My Medicare Matters – NCOA)
- eHealthInsurance: Medicare Part D (Prescription)
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. For more information on how CLAIM can help, check out their website beginning next week or call their toll-free number at 1-800-390-3330 (9am-4pm Mon-Fri).
Taking various steps to become informed about how your health insurance can work for you is an important piece 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!
If you still have questions on how Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Health Insurance Marketplace work in relation to one another, or how the Marketplace works for seniors, check out NCOA's article on "What the Health Insurance Marketplace Means for Seniors". You can also view a fact sheet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace.