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MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT: 5 TIPS TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS

MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT: 5 TIPS TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS

MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT: 5 TIPS TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS

Mark your calendars for October 15, the Medicare open enrollment period begins that day. If you are 65 or older, get ready to a deluge of snail mail, all from companies vying for your business. Navigating the Medicare landscape can be daunting, but here are some key items to know about this year’s enrollment period:

  • For a comprehensive guide to Medicare, check out “Medicare and You,” a publication produced by The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.” It’s a lot to read, but the more information you have, the more money you are likely to save on healthcare. This publication will answer most of your questions about coverage, Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare-approved plans offered by private insurers), supplemental plans, and prescription drug coverage.
  • Medicare does not make any type of sales call. If a caller identifies himself or herself as a Medicare sales rep, they are not legitimate and not associated with Medicare. During open enrollment periods, fraudsters abound, and often ask for your personal information. Their con is a form of identity theft. Medicare will not ever call you asking for information or trying to sell you anything.
  • Open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7. But for those who already have an Advantage plan and might like to change plans, Medicare is offering an additional three-month enrollment period from January 1 to March 31. This is the first time this extended period has been offered, in order to offer people more time to compare plans before they make their decision.
  • Medicare Advantage plans are expanding their offerings, and in addition to the added values of vision and dentalcare, many of these plans now offer fitness club memberships. Some plans are adding in-home medical services coverage, and adult day care coverage.
  • The Medicare Plan Finder tool is probably the best way for you to compare available plans. The tool is located on the Medicare.gov site, where you will be asked to fill out a brief form and directed to plans tailored for your needs. The tool also helps you estimate your potential costs.

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