Open enrollment for those covered by a Medicare health plan and prescription drug plan begins on Nov 15 and ends on Dec. 31. This is Medicare’s annual enrollment period that allows you to make changes to an existing plan that you are enrolled in or to choose a different plan. While you have until Dec. 31 to make any changes, you should do them sooner rather than later so you can ensure that everything is in place before your coverage starts on Jan. 1, 2010.
Choosing a Medicare health plan can seem daunting so focus on the following factors when evaluating your options: cost, benefits, doctor and hospital choice, convenience, prescription drugs, pharmacy choice and quality and performance.
It’s a good idea to review your plan even if you are happy with your existing coverage. Changes in premiums, alone, warrant a fresh look at your current plan. Health care costs seem to increase every year and Medicare premiums are no exception. The average premiums for Part D and the Advantage plans have gone up by about 7% and 22%, respectively.
Keep in mind that premiums are only one of the cost factors to consider when evaluating a Medicare plan. Other important cost factors include changes in deductibles and co-payments. As with premiums, these costs are increasing in many plans as well.
To learn more visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the web at www.medicare.gov for more information and tools you can use to evaluate and compare your existing plan with the other options available to you. You can also get Medicare information by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
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