Medicare Open Enrollment: Earlier and Longer This Year
Medicare open enrollment is the period during which enrollees can choose to change their Medicare plans. This year, the open enrollment period is nearly seven weeks long as it starts earlier – October 15th and continues through December 7th, 2011.
Despite the passage of Obama’s health care plan, Medicare premiums are increasing next year. The increase means that taking some extra time to understand the costs and coverage of each of the plans is important.
The costs include the monthly premium (the amount paid to maintain coverage), your deductible (the amount you pay out-of-pocket) before different benefit levels kick in and co-pays (the amount you pay when Medicare or the insurance company pays a portion of the costs).
Understanding your coverage will tell you which doctors, clinics, and hospitals are included in the plan. It also indicates what kinds of medicines, equipment and procedures may be covered.
The longer selection period should give beneficiaries more time to research, understand and choose the best Medicare plan for them and the government provides a tool to help. The Medicare Plan Finder can be found at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.