Thursday, October 27, 2011

Medicare open enrollment period has begun: Beneficiaries have more benefits, better choices, lower costs

Kris Erickson

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services is encouraging people with Medicare and their families to begin reviewing drug and health plan coverage options for 2012 to take advantage of the increased benefits, improved choices and lower costs that are available. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period – which began earlier this year on Saturday, October 15 – has been expanded to seven weeks and will end on December 7th. This will give people more time to compare and find the best plan to meet their unique needs.

Beginning today, seniors and people with disabilities can review the 2012 quality ratings for Medicare Advantage health plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D) for the upcoming year.

Resources for Medicare Beneficiaries

People with Medicare coverage, their families, and other trusted representatives can review and compare current plan coverage with new plan offerings, using many resources, including:
  • Medicare’s website, where they can get a personalized comparison of costs and coverage of the plans available in their area. The popular Medicare Plan Finder tool has been enhanced for an efficient review of plan choices. Spanish Open Enrollment information is available.
  • The 2012 Medicare & You handbook. It is also accessible at online here, and has been mailed to the homes of people with Medicare.
  • The Medicare & You 2012 handbook in Spanish can be found here.
  • Counseling assistance from an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867.
People with Medicare who have limited income and resources may qualify for Extra Help paying for their prescription drug costs. There is no cost to apply for Extra Help, also called the low-income subsidy. Medicare beneficiaries, family members, trusted counselors or caregivers can apply online on Social Security’s Website or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to find out more.

Are you having trouble navigating Medicare – or health insurance in general? Our MS Navigators are trained to assist you in finding the best plan to meet your needs. Call 1-800-344-4867 to speak with an MS Navigator.

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