Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the latest data shows that the reform law’s curbs on premium rate increases and other regulations on private insurers has made Medicare Advantage more accessible to the nearly 50 million senior citizens and disabled Americans who are Medicare beneficiaries.
Video: Medicare Enrollment | Medicare Sign Up | Apply for Medicare
Missing Medicare Plan Deadlines Will Cost You: When to Enroll
Medicare Part A If you already receive benefits from the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board, you are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B; no action is required on your part to enroll. If you do not meet the criteria listed above, then you must enroll in Medicare during the period beginning three months before you turn 65 and ending three months after your birthday.
Administration Touts Thriving Medicare Advantage Under Health Law
The Hill: HHS: Health Law Strengthened Medicare Advantage Enrollment is up and premiums are down in Medicare Advantage (MA) as a result of the healthcare law, the federal health department reported Wednesday. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued projections that MA enrollment will increase by 11 percent over the next year while premiums hold steady. Sebelius attributed a 28 percent rise in MA enrollment and 10 percent drop in MA premiums since 2010 to the Affordable Care Act, which remains politically divisive (Viebeck, 9/19).
AHIP Statement on Medicare Advantage
Protections Against Unpredictable Out-of-Pocket Costs: Medicare Advantage plans also protect beneficiaries from catastrophic health care costs. In 2012, all Medicare Advantage plans offer an out-of-pocket maximum limit for beneficiary costs, and about 78 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that have annual out-of-pocket maximums of $5,000 or less. These out-of-pocket maximums – which are not offered by the Medicare FFS program – help protect Medicare beneficiaries from catastrophic health care expenses that otherwise might pose a serious threat to their financial security. Medicare Advantage plans also help reduce out-of-pocket costs for enrollees by reducing premiums for Part B and Part D, and by limiting cost-sharing for Medicare-covered services, including primary care physician visits and inpatient hospital stays.
Low cognitive ability impairs enrollment in Medicare supplemental plans
Because traditional Medicare leaves substantial gaps in coverage, many people obtain supplemental coverage to limit their exposure to out-of-pocket costs. However, some Medicare beneficiaries may not be well equipped to navigate the complex supplemental coverage landscape successfully because of their lower cognitive ability or numeracy—that is, the ability to work with numbers. We found that people in the lower third of the cognitive ability and numeracy distributions were at least eleven percentage points less likely than those in the upper third to enroll in a supplemental Medicare insurance plan. This result means that many Medicare beneficiaries do not have the financial protections and other benefits that would be available to them if they were enrolled in a supplemental insurance plan. Our findings suggest that policy makers may want to consider alternatives tailored to these high-need groups, such as enhanced education and enrollment programs, simpler sets of plan choices, or even some type of automatic enrollment with an option to decline coverage.
Sebelius Misleads the Public on Medicare Advantage
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Procedure To Enroll In Medicare Supplement
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Time to examine Medicare Plans
Medicare Advantage may also see changes. Medicare Advantage offers a different type of coverage than original Medicare. According to Medicare’s website, “A Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.”
The Ins and Outs of Medicare
Next is the step involving supplemental plans. In order to purchase a Medigap policy you must be enrolled in Medicare coverage. Enrolling in Medigap begins on the first day of the first full month that you are sixty five or have enrolled in Part B Medicare and ends after six months. This is the period in which an insurance company must waive all exclusions such as pre-existing conditions and accept all participants. The must also allow your coverage to begin immediately. After the six months insurers have the right to deny selling you a particular Medigap Supplemental Plan.