The Medicare Open Enrollment deadline is fast approaching, so now is the time to check and see if you will have the Medicare coverage you need to meet your needs, at a price you can afford, starting January 1, 2013.
December 7 is the last day that most people with Medicare can chose or change their Medicare health or prescription drug coverage for 2013.
Medicare is stronger than ever with more benefits, better choices, and lower costs to beneficiaries. Expanded Medicare benefits under the health care law (the Affordable Care Act) continue to be available –including certain free preventive benefits, cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit. Whether you choose Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan – take advantage of Open Enrollment to review cost, coverage, or both for 2013.
Your health needs change from year to year. And, your health plan may change the benefits and costs each year too. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your Medicare choices regularly. Open Enrollment is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can see what new benefits Medicare has to offer and make changes to their coverage. It is especially important for people whose Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan is not renewing for 2013 to review their options for coverage in the new year.
If you are happy with your current coverage and know that it is available, and will meet your needs in the new year, you don’t have to do anything. But it’s worth it to take the time to review and compare and you don’t have to do it alone. Medicare is available to help.
· Visit www.medicare.gov to compare your current coverage with all the options available in your area. You can enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change
· Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048
· Get one-on-one from your State Health Insurance Program (SHIP). In Virginia, that program is VICAP. Call VICAP at 1-800-552-3402 to find help in your community.
In addition, if you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get extra help paying for your prescription drug coverage costs. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov, or call Social Security at 1-800-772 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778).
So please, take the time to review your coverage and make sure you are getting the most out of your Medicare—you’ve earned it!
Nancy B. O’Connor is Regional Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Region 3.