Leaving the closing date to the last day of the year has caused problems in the past for some seniors who have waited until close to deadline to make changes. Bringing it forward should simply make it easier for the system to get up and running on January 1 2012 as it should. This also takes the Christmas holiday period out of the equation. Although some people do use the holidays to consider their options, others get diverted and have to make snap decisions at the last minute.
Video: Medicare and You – Open Enrollment is Earlier This Year
Signing up for a Texas Medicare Supplement
Sometimes people are enrolling in a Medicare supplement outside of these times. Perhaps you used your one-time open enrollment window initially to choose a plan, but later on after a few annual rate increases, you decided to shop around, and an independent agent helped you find the same policy with another carrier at a lower price. You can now apply with that carrier, but you will go through medical underwriting. All that means is that you have to answer some qualifying health questions on the application, and that an underwriter from the insurance carrier may call you with some questions. As long as the carrier approves you, you can be approved for a new policy and drop the old one.
2012 Will Bring New Medicare Open Enrollment Period
Medicare will start with a two week time frame that begins on the first of October and extends to October 15th, this will allow you to see any changes to plans and rates for next year. A benefit to customers with this changes is that you get to take a little more time to begin analyzing the best option for your life. Start building the right plan for yourself by contacting your Medicare provider on October 15th and see if you have made the right decisions.
Medicare Part D Open Enrollment to Begin Soon
6. Seek help if you need it: Medicare changes typically come every year. But reviewing options and choosing a new plan can be confusing for consumers or those attempting to help them. For help, you can go to the government’s website as well as volunteer organizations, private-sector plans, and other resources like the AARP (American Association of Retired People) , the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and the Medicare Rights Center. You can also check out the State Health Insurance Plans (SHIPs), which are part of a federal network of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs located in every state.
Medicare Advantage Plans Offer Brief Open Enrollment
Medicare Advantage plans are another way to receive Medicare benefits. Advantage plans replace your Original Medicare Part A and B benefits with coverage through a private insurance company. Most Advantage plans add on extra coverage to be competitive. For example, many help out with dental services, eyeglasses, hearing aids and prescription drugs, whereas Medicare doesn’t with one exception. It does help if you develop cataracts. One of the big selling points behind the growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment is low premiums. In some areas, plans are available that cost nothing beyond Medicare Part B premiums. Another major attraction is that Medicare Advantage Plans accept all health problems except End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). There are some things that you need to understand about these plans before you enroll, though. Most plans only cover non-emergency care through their own list of doctors and hospitals. Since Medicare Advantage plans replace Medicare’s coverage, you won’t have any coverage through Medicare either should you need an out-of-network doctor. Each of the Medicare Advantage plans sets its own rules, but all must abide by the guidelines from Medicare. All Advantage plans must provide equal or better coverage than Medicare, too. To be sure that you’ll be able to get the health care you need, check the list of doctors and which prescriptions a plan will pay for before you enroll. It’s rare for health insurance to offer trial periods, but that’s just what you can do with dozens of different Medicare Advantage Plans. Enroll before December 15, and if you change your mind, you can switch back to Medicare between January 1 and February 14 next year. Medicare Advantage Plans Have A Special “Try It Out” Period Actually, this is only time that you can try out one of the Medicare Advantage (MA) plans after the initial sign up period when you first became eligible for Medicare. This is a once a year event where you can assess the type of MA plan you got out of the dozen choices laid out in front of you by different insurers and insurance companies. If you let this chance slip by, you might end up paying more and getting less coverage than what you bargained for. Depending on where you live, you may find a lot more choices among Medicare Advantage plans than Medigap Insurance plans. Unless you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin, you’ll only find 10 choices of Medigap plans. The mentioned states have their own version of Medigap plans. This year, open enrollment has been moved up to an earlier time to get it over and done with long before the end of the year. Beneficiaries are now being told their benefits will start January 1. From October 15 until December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan from a private health insurance company, but here’s why it’s better to start looking for a plan as soon as possible. Medicare Advantage plans are not available everywhere, but there can be an array of choices in urban settings. More than 24 different plans are reportedly available in certain locations. With online searches, it’s fairly easy to compare your choices. Be sure to compare plans from different insurance companies whenever possible. Independent health insurance brokers also offer free telephone consultations to answer questions and help you compare coverage through various policies. If you enroll in one of the Medicare Advantage Plans and find that you like Original Medicare benefits more, you are allowed to switch back between January 1 and February 14, 2012. You may also join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan at the same time since you’ll be losing drug coverage from the Advantage plan.
Medicare Open Enrollment: Medicare Is Stronger Than Ever
We know that more choices can make decisions challenging, but we’ve expanded the Medicare safety net to make sure folks can get the help they need to sift through their options. You can even get an early start — we’ve already made sure the Medicare Plan Finder is fully updated with all new 2012 cost and benefit information for health and drug plans. If you’re the kind of person who likes to get online yourself and sort through the details, you can use this online tool right now. Start by entering your drugs and checking on the doctors and pharmacies you want to use. A few steps will get you to a personalized list of your plan choices and help you compare.
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Next is Part B or Medical Insurance. If one chooses to keep this Part then s/he will get coverage on medical expenses and most things that Part A fails to cover. Part B covers 80% of the medical bill and the remaining 20% is to be borne by the beneficiary. This 20% is the co-insurance or the co-pay that the beneficiary pays, and of course, there are deductibles too. The medical expenses falling under Part B are outpatient doctor`s/physician`s services, medical and surgical services, glaucoma tests, ambulance conveyance, mental illness, prosthesis, bone mass density measurement, radiation treatments, breast cancer and other cancer screenings, diagnostic tests, cardiovascular tests. It also covers mammograms, emergency room treatment, radiology and pathology treatment. Unlike Part A, Part B requires individuals to pay premiums. The residual 20%, that the beneficiary has to pay could turn out to be an amount that may be far from affordable at times. Hence, there is an option known as Medigap. Medigap plans are Medicare Supplement Plans that are sold by private insurance companies. These help pay for the expenses that Medicare does not pay for. There are 12 supplement plans that provide different types of coverage and charge different premiums too.