Every year, folks with Medicare get to explore new choices and pick
the plans that work best for them. Remember: Medicare
is to make sure folks can identify and enroll in the coverage option
that best suits your needs for 2017.
Medicare Open Enrollment is Oct. 15th - Dec. 7th, 2016.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
Different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:
MEDICARE PART A (Hospital Insurance):
Part A covers inpatient
hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and
some home health care.
MEDICARE PART B (Medical Insurance):
Part B covers certain doctor's services, outpatient care, medical
supplies, and preventive services.
MEDICARE PART C (Medicare Advantage Plans – HMO or PPO):
A type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. They include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and are not paid for under Original Medicare.
Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage. People who option to stay enrolled in a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan for their basic health care services have the option to stay in that plan, choose a different plan or going back to the Original Medicare program. Plans change from year to year, so review and see if your health has changed, as these are important choices that should be made with care.
MEDICARE PART D (Prescription Drug Coverage):
adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare
Cost Plans, some Medicare Private-Fee-for-Services. The Part D
standalone prescription drug plans will drop 14%, to 1001 plans. This
is the smallest number of offerings since the Medicare Plan program
began in 2006. However, seniors across the country will still have a
choice of at least two dozen plans in their area. The drug plans
consolidations, which drive the reductions in choices will likely
shift many beneficiaries into lower cost plans, which result in an
average premium decline of 2%, to $38.95. *Underscoring the importance
of evaluating plan options, 70% of standalone drug plan members will
likely see premiums increase if they stick with the same plans in
Not sure what kind of coverage you have? Here are some ways to find out:
Check your red, white and blue Medicare card. Check all other
insurance cards that you use. Call the phone number on the cards to
get more information about the coverage. Check your Medicare health
or drug plan enrollment. Call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227. TTY users
Next month's article (November) will cover: Things to Consider When Choosing or Changing your Coverage for 2017 such as: Your current Plan Coverage, Costs, Doctors and Hospital Choices, Prescription Drugs, Quality of Care and other coverages. ** We have several top knowledgeable insurance resource agents who are “independent” and we can recommend them. They will review your current Medicare insurance and make recommendations – again, compare your health this year (if it has changed) to possibly needing more care in 2017..... Always educate yourself or a family member in comparing plans!!
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