Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare is health insurance for U.S. citizens age 65 and above and for those under 65 with certain disabilities or conditions.  If you are new to Medicare services, click here for a basic overview of the programs.  For a more detailed overview, click here to view the Guide to Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Options, and Part D.

Every year, Medicare plans change what they cost and also what they cover.  Beginning November 15, 2010, all people with Medicare should review their current coverage, learn about any changes for the coming year, and choose the Medicare plan that works best for them.  For more information on how to approach and conduct your yearly plan review, view this publication and visit this site.

This year, the Affordable Care Act provides important new benefits to most people with Medicare starting in January 2011.  For instance, in 2011, if you hit the prescription drug donut hole (or Part D coverage gap), you will get a 50% discount on brand-name drugs. Every year after, you will pay less for your prescription drugs in the donut hole until there’s complete coverage of the donut hole in 2020. Between now and then, you will get continuous Medicare coverage for your prescription drugs.  To view additional ways to lower your prescription costs during the coverage gap, click here.  The Affordable Care Act also brings provisions for free annual wellness visits and free mammograms, colonoscopies and other screenings. To view more information on Medicare and changes in the new health law, click here.

To compare different Medicare plans and choose the best one for you, click here.

If you need any help or information regarding Medicare, the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program is an excellent resource.  Their toll-free hotline provides free information about Medicare programs and services.  Call 1-800-686-1578. 

Finally, there is a large library of information on various topics related to Medicare on their website.  Click here to view, download, print, and order these publications. 

Source:  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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