Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Today

There has been much focus recently on open enrollment for the health insurance exchanges. In addition to the exchange open enrollment period, today, October 15, 2013, marks the beginning of Medicare’s annual enrollment period, which lasts until December 7, 2013.  Approximately 49 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare.

What does the enrollment period mean for Medicare beneficiaries?

Each year during Medicare’s annual enrollment period, current Medicare beneficiaries are allowed to make changes to their Medicare plan choices.  Beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan (otherwise known as Medicare Part D) can review their plan choices and determine whether they want to stick with their current plan, or switch to a new plan.  Beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (an MA plan, or Medicare Part C) can review their plan choices and decide if they want to keep their current plan or switch to a new plan.

What happens if a beneficiary does nothing during the annual enrollment period?

If a beneficiary is satisfied with his/her current Medicare coverage, he/she does not need to do anything.  So, if you are happy with your current Part D plan and want to keep the same plan next year, you do not need to do anything during the annual enrollment period.  Plan premiums may change; beneficiaries should have been notified by their current plans of any changes for next year.

If a beneficiary has Medicare, should they enroll in plans in the health insurance exchanges?

No.  If you have Medicare you are considered covered and do not need to obtain health insurance coverage through the exchanges.  For more information visit http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/medicare-and-the-health-insurance-marketplace.pdf.

For more information on Medicare coverage options, please visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

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