This week, millions of people will receive notice that Medicare's annual open
enrollment period is approaching. That means it's time to review their current coverage and
decide if they would benefit from switching plans for 2013.
During the Medicare annual enrollment period -- Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 -- all Medicare
beneficiaries may change their Medicare coverage for the coming year. This includes
anyone using traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Advantage participants should review 2013 plan changes as soon as they receive information from their providers. Changes could include costs such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays, as well as changes to covered procedures, tests and other provisions. Some plans may be eliminated, requiring enrollees to choose a new plan for 2013 or default to traditional Medicare Part B. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans continues to increase, with 10 percent more Medicare beneficiaries choosing these plans for 2012 compared to 2011.
Medicare beneficiaries should receive their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan providers by Sept. 30. Take time to review the information you receive and look at all of your Medicare options; you may find more affordable coverage through a different combination of plans -- whether Medicare Advantage or traditional Medicare with Part D and Medigap plans. Keep in mind that you may see a lot of ads for Medicare plans, but there could be a plan that's perfect for you that isn't getting a lot of attention with ads and mailers.
Locally, a free “Understanding Medicare Plan Choices for 2013” is being held on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 10:00 am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. Representatives from Niagara County Office for the Aging, NYS EPIC and Medicare Advantage Representatives will be present to provide enrollment information, assistance and to answer questions.
Information will be available about: changes to the Medicare Plans, enrollment updates, NYS EPIC, Medicare Part D, and the “extra help” subsidy program.