| Wed, Sep 14, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Review Your Medicare Choices and be Ready for AEP

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Review your Medicare coverage annually and be prepared for the Medicare Annual Enrollment PeriodThe Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is an opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to review their Medicare coverage and make changes, if necessary. If you, or a loved one, are currently receiving Medicare benefits, now is the time to look at your current plan, understand your coverage and consider your future health care needs. By completing a little research you will be prepared for AEP, which begins four weeks earlier this year on October 15.

Review Your Current Medicare Coverage

Whether you have Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) or a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan, it’s a good idea to review your coverage now and consider:

  • Whether your current plan(s) provided the coverage you needed last year. Did you have to pay for things that you’d like to have coverage for? Did you have coverage for services that you never used? If you have Original Medicare, did you also need to purchase a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement Insurance (also known as Medigap) plan to cover the things Original Medicare doesn’t?
  • Your health status and how it may have changed. Will you require more, or fewer, health care services in the coming year? Did you receive a new diagnosis? Did your doctor prescribe any new medications?
  • What your out-of-pocket health care costs were over the past year. Are you comfortable with your Medicare plan premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurances? Would a plan with a higher or lower premium or deductible better meet your needs?

Research Your Medicare Plan Choices

You can tap into a number of resources as you consider your 2012 Medicare plan choices.

  • Your local Social Security office can provide information on all of the plans available in your area. Call your local office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Medicare.gov offers information about Medicare plan types, benefits, coverage and cost, as well as an online tool that helps you find available plans in your area.
  • Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) offers information and counseling that can help you understand your health care choices, choose a Medicare plan, find additional health insurance to help meet your needs and help you understand your rights and protections. You can find your state office contact information and more on the program’s website, SHIPtalk.org.
  • Medicare Made Clear is an educational website where you will find videos and information designed to help you in the decision-making process.
  • If you are interested in a Medicare Advantage or a prescription drug plan, you can get information directly from the company that offers the plans you’re considering.

It’s important to do your research, ask questions and get the answers you need until you feel confident with your decision.

Start Planning Today

The Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15 and lasts only 53 days, through December 7. It’s time to begin preparing for it. After a little research, you can get the information you need and feel prepared to make an informed decision.

For more information contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Learn More About Switching Plans – MMC

Medicare Eligibility and Enrollment – Medicare.gov

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