With all the talk lately of the new health reform exchanges opening on October 01, 2013, you may not be thinking about the overlap with Medicare‘s annual Open Enrollment period which starts on October 15th every year.
Medicare Open Enrollment
According to an article published by Allsup: “’Because the federal and state-run health insurance exchanges open for business just two weeks prior to Medicare enrollment, some people may be confused,’ said Paula Muschler, manager of the Allsup Medicare Advisor®.
“’Medicare beneficiaries may falsely think they need to enroll in an exchange plan to avoid penalties. Or, they may be so flustered that they don’t carefully evaluate their Medicare plan options for 2014, which could be detrimental if their plan or their needs have changed,’ Muschler said.”
“Another potential area of confusion is for those individuals turning 65 during Medicare annual enrollment. ‘Because some seniors become Medicare eligible during this time period, they need to look at their Medicare selections for coverage that takes them through year-end 2013, as well as coverage that will begin Jan. 1, 2014,’ Muschler said. “’These first-time enrollees can benefit from the help of a Medicare specialist.”
“Medicare is not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Anyone with Medicare is considered covered and won’t face penalties for being uninsured under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare annual open enrollment runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. (Note: Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment is from Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).)”
According to the article, other changes are:
- Medicare recipients reaching the drug coverage gap will see from lower costs;
- Medicare Part B premium changes are expected, though information may not be available until October 15th;
- Prescription drug Part D plans will see slight changes in deductible and premiums, though they are still tied to the same income-based thresholds as Part B coverage; and
- Changes anticipated for Medicare Advantage plans: “Some plans may be eliminated, which means beneficiaries will need to select a new plan or default to original Medicare Part B.”
Most Medicare participants will receive their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EO) from their current Medicare Advantage and Part D providers by Sept. 30, according to Muschler. “It’s crucial people review materials as soon as they receive them and assess their current healthcare needs,” she said.
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Medicare Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net