Medicare’s 2013 Open Enrollment Period will run from October 15 through December 7. During this period, people with Medicare can change their Medicare health and prescription drug plan coverage options. Changes that are made on or before December 7 will take effect on January 1, 2014. The official Medicare site is quite user-friendly and is a good resource to answer your Medicare questions.
This year, you may hear a lot about the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace Open Enrollment period (October 1, 2013–March 31, 2014) overlaps with the Medicare Open Enrollment period (October 15–December 7, 2013). The Marketplace is designed to help people who don’t have any health coverage. If you have health coverage through Medicare, the Marketplace won’t have any effect on your Medicare coverage.
If you are happy with your Medicare plan, there is no need to take action.
The official Medicare site has done a great job explaining the basics in a user-friendly way. The Medicare Rights Center has posted a useful article that sums up Part D Enrollment options. The Center offers several useful newsletters that can help you stay informed.
A word of caution about changing Medicare health (not drug) insurance plans: Private Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) can start marketing to you as of October 1. These are private HMO insurance plans that contract to Medicare to provide your services; they are not traditional Medicare.
Before you make any decisions or changes to your Medicare, do your research. Don’t let a fancy marketing brochure fool you. In our experience, patients with Medicare Advantage plans have often had problems with access and coverage for their healthcare needs. We encourage our clients should stick with traditional Medicare: Part A – hospitalization, Part B – outpatient, Part D – prescription drug plan plus a Medigap supplement policy to cover the 20% Medicare does not cover.
As always, we can help you research and analyze your insurance options.