ANNUAL MEDICARE ENROLLMENT:
If you’re a senior who relies on Medicare for your health care needs, you should be aware of changes this year that will affect your benefits. As with every enrollment season, there are important things you should watch out for and consider when evaluating your coverage needs. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is here to help you get smart when considering your options.
Enrollment Period Changes
This year, annual enrollment runs from Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, 2010. Additionally, from Jan. 1 - Feb. 14, 2011, Medicare Advantage enrollees can switch to Original Medicare. If you choose to change, you can also enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan.
In most cases you will not be able to change options outside the
enrollment period, therefore you should take the time to carefully review
your Medicare benefits and options now.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law in March. The health care overhaul law includes a number of significant changes to Medicare. You will see the following changes to Medicare this year.
Every year, some Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans choose not to renew their Medicare contracts. If you received a non-renewal notice this year, the notice should also have included information about the options available in your area.
When weighing your options, compare coverages and costs to find the policy that best fits your health care needs. Remember, new Medicare Advantage plans could have different coverage limits, participating doctors and prescription drug lists than your current plan. If you choose Original Medicare, you might want to consider a prescription drug policy and/or a Medicare supplement insurance policy to augment your coverage.
State and federal rules are in place to protect you against abuses in the marketing and sales of Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Individuals who contact you about any type of private Medicare coverage:
Unfortunately, not everyone who contacts you about switching Medicare plans has the best intentions. To protect yourself from scams, here are some additional tips:
Other Important Considerations
Federal assistance with premiums is available to Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain income requirements. If you think you may qualify, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-SSA-1213 (1-800-772-1213).
Medicare beneficiaries may seek assistance in reviewing options for coverage and obtaining financial assistance by contacting their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Go to the NAIC website (http://map.naic.org) for a link to your state insurance department.
For more information about your Medicare options, the new required coverages under the PPACA or to use Medicare’s online Prescription Drug Plan Finder, go to www.medicare.gov.
Find more information about your changing insurance needs and tips for
choosing the coverage that is best for you and your family at www.InsureUOnline.org.
About the NAIC
Formed in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory
officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S.
territories. The NAIC has three offices: Executive Office, Washington,
D.C.; Central Office, Kansas City, Mo.; and Securities Valuation Office,
New York City. The NAIC serves the needs of consumers and the industry,
with an overriding objective of supporting state insurance regulators as
they protect consumers and maintain the financial stability of the
insurance marketplace. For more consumer information, visit insureUonline.org.
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