Medicare Open Enrollment Period Starts Sooner and Ends Earlier: In years past, open enrollment ran from November 15th through December 31st. This year, it begins on October 15th and runs through December 7th. Changes made during open enrollment are effective as of January 1, 2012.
During open enrollment, people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. In addition, your health-care needs may have changed over the past year. The open enrollment period is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs.
If you have a Medicare plan, take a few moments to review it. How is the coverage and level of care you’re receiving with your current plan? Do you see the medical professionals of your choice, or are you restricted as to the staff and facilities you’re able to use? Are your premium costs or out-of-pocket expenses too high? For example, Medicare Part B and Part D premiums can increase if your income exceeds a certain level. On the other hand, if you have a Medigap or Medicare Supplement plan, you may find that your out-of-pocket costs are increasing due to co-payments and deductibles. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Part C plan, those benefits and costs may change as well. Has your health changed, or do you anticipate needing medical care or treatment? Now is the time to determine if your current plan will cover your treatment and what your potential out-of-pocket costs may be. If your current plan doesn’t meet your health-care needs or fit within your budget, you can switch to a plan that may work better for you.
Where can you get more information? Take advantage of help available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by visiting the Medicare website, http://www.medicare.gov/. We can also help you find the information you need to make decisions about Medicare.