Medicare Open Enrollment is Coming!

On October 15th Medicare’s open enrollment period begins and lasts until December 7th. It’s during this time period that you can review your current Medicare plan and make changes if needed. You do not need to sign up for Medicare each year, but this is an important time when you should review your coverage to make adjustments if necessary, to ensure your health insurance needs are being met. And with the government currently discussing change that could potentially impact different parts of the healthcare system, it’s also a good time to stay up-to-date on this news as it unfolds.

Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plan should receive paperwork called “Evidence of Coverage” or “Annual Notice of Change” letters from your health plan showing coverage outlines and any changes that will occur. It’s very important to review these materials to make sure of any changes in the plan’s costs, providers, benefits, drug formularies, etc. so that if something is changing with your plan, you are aware of it and can make changes to your coverage, if needed. These plans can change their benefits so it’s crucial to review your policy and any upcoming changes.

So, what can be done during the open enrollment period? According to Medicare, you can do the following:

Something else to keep in mind is that if you are not satisfied with your Medicare Advantage Plan, you can disenroll from that plan and join Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. This disenrollment period is open from January 1st to February 14th.

The Medicare website offers a Medicare Plan Finder where you can search for and compare health plans, benefits, coverage and estimated costs. You can also contact Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for information and questions.

For additional help, you can receive individualized assistance and guidance in choosing coverage through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). This resource provides one-on-one insurance counseling and support, visit https://www.shiptacenter.org/ to find your local office.

MSAA’s My Health Insurance Guide is a helpful source for the MS community to find more information about insurance options and resources, in addition to the Medicare Planning and Multiple Sclerosis brochure that helps to outline important parts and questions about Medicare coverage.

This is an important time to review your plan’s policy and make changes if needed to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for your healthcare needs.

Resources:

http://www.medicareinteractive.org/get-answers/overview-of-medicare-health-coverage-options/changing-medicare-health-coverage/6-things-to-know-about-fall-open-enrollment

https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/when-can-i-join-a-health-or-drug-plan/when-can-i-join-a-health-or-drug-plan.html#collapse-3190

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Time’s Running Out for Medicare Open Enrollment

Not happy with your Medicare plan in 2015? There is still time to make a change! Individuals have through December 7th to make changes for the 2016 plan year. By now, the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letters regarding 2016 coverage have been sent; it is important to review those documents to see if any major changes will affect your healthcare in 2016. Not sure if you have received this letter? Contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.

If you are happy with your current coverage and are OK with the information provided within the Annual Notice of Change letter, then you do not have to proceed any further. You will automatically be enrolled in the same plan as 2015.

Concerned about your coverage, or would like to make a change to your plan? Visit the Medicare website to review your current policy. Through the site, you can check your level of coverage to see how much or how little your plan was utilized in 2015. Perhaps there are trends that you notice regarding out- of-pocket expenses that may be better covered under another plan.

2016 Medicare plans can be reviewed and compared online through the Medicare Plan Finder. Having issues online, or would like more one-on-one assistance; get free personalized health insurance counseling by calling your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit shiptacenter.org to locate the nearest center.

A little planning goes a long way…..a year to be exact. Taking the time now to review or make changes to your Medicare plan has the ability to effect all of 2016. So PLAN ahead!

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If you have Medicare, get the information you need to know:

Tomorrow, October 15th, is the first day of Medicare Open Enrollment for plan year 2014. The plan that you select now will impact your medical coverage and costs for an entire year. Don’t forget to tune in to our live Webinar tomorrow evening from 8-9PM EST for important information on Medicare Open Enrollment and specific tips for people living with MS.

To register for the Webinar, go to the following link: support.mymsaa.org/aca1

If you cannot attend the live program, don’t worry, you will be able to watch the archive and download the presentation slides from our MSi page after the live program:  https://mymsaa.org/manage-your-ms/videos/.

This year, be prepared. Learn from Medicare experts who can try to help you understand what questions to ask and how to select your best options.

 

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