| Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period ends Today!

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

The Annual Enrollment Period closes today – have you made the changes you need to your Medicare coverage? Today is the last day of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). This is your last chance to make changes to your Medicare coverage, After today, your Medicare plan choices can’t be changed until next year (unless you qualify for an exception). So now is the time to make any changes to the coverage you need for 2012.

Have your health care coverage needs changed?

A quick way to decide whether or not you should make any changes to your current Medicare coverage is to decide if your Medicare plan works for most of your health care needs, or if you need extra or different coverage to meet your needs.  For example:

–Do you need prescription drug coverage?  Then you should consider adding a Medicare Part D plan to your existing coverage or enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D prescription drug coverage (if available in your area).

–Are you looking for vision, dental, hearing and/or wellness care? Then you should consider a

Medicare Advantage plan, if it’s available in your area.  Medicare Advantage plans include all of the benefits of Medicare Part A and Part B.  Medicare Advantage plans may add extra benefits like vision, dental, hearing and wellness care, and many include prescription drug coverage too, making them convenient and comprehensive.

Have Your Questions Ready

The Medicare.gov plan finder page offers a quick, convenient way to research Medicare Advantage plans, standalone Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. After entering your ZIP code and answering a few general questions, you’ll get a list of available plans in your area. You can either use this information to enroll in a plan right away online or you can contact the plan(s) by phone. It’s important to have your questions ready when you call, for example:

  • “How much is the plan’s monthly premium? Is there an annual deductible? What are the doctor visit copays or coinsurance?”
  • “If I am hospitalized, how much would it cost per day out of my own pocket? What are the limits to hospital coverage? (for example, do my costs change after my 60thconsecutive day in the hospital)?”
  • For a Medicare Advantage plan: “Is your plan a PPO, where I can pay extra to use outside doctors if I want, or is it an HMO with a specific network of physicians from which I must select a doctor?”

Because you don’t have much time, and the AEP is ending, you should consider enrolling in a plan that meets your needs, over the phone or using the plan’s website.

Adding Prescription Drug Coverage

During the Annual Enrollment period, it’s a good idea to consider if you need to add a Part D prescription drug plan or switch to a plan that includes Part D coverage. If you disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period, you can enroll in a standalone Part D plan now, or wait and enroll between January 1 and February 14. This General Enrollment Period is set aside for people who have discontinued their Medicare Advantage coverage and need to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. You can use the Medicare.gov plan finder to research and select a prescription drug plan. If you sign up for a prescription drug plan during the General Enrollment Period, your plan will become effective the first day of the month following the month in which you sign up. For example, if you sign up on February 13, 2012, your prescription drug coverage will take effect March 1, 2012.

Today is the last day of the Annual Enrollment Period; if you need to make a change to your Medicare plan, you should do so today. Go to the Medicare.gov plan finder to review and compare plans available in your area. This will help you make a quick, informed decision so you’ll have the health coverage you need for 2012.

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 at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources

Medicare.gov Plan Finder tool

Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods – Medicare.gov

CMS’ Medicare & You 2011 – Medicare.gov

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