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Article Archive >> Good Health

Medicare open enrollment is earlier this year

Medicare open enrollment is earlier this year

(NewsUSA) - Your health needs change from year to year. Plus, your health plan may change the benefits and costs each year, too. That's why it's important to evaluate your Medicare choices every year. 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.
There's never been a better time to check out Medicare coverage. There are new benefits available for all people with Medicare -- whether you choose Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan -- including lower prescription costs, wellness visits and preventive care. Take advantage of Open Enrollment, and you may be able to save money, get better coverage or both.
You may be wondering, what is the benefit of having an earlier enrollment period?
Starting this year, Open Enrollment starts earlier, Oct. 15, and lasts longer (7 full weeks) to give you enough time to review and make changes to your coverage. Also starting this year, you will need to make your final selection for next year's Medicare coverage by Dec. 7. This change ensures that Medicare has enough time to process your choice, so your coverage can begin without interruption on Jan. 1.
It's worthwhile to take the time to review and compare, but you don't have to do it alone. If you typically use the December holidays to discuss health care options with family or friends, plan now to move that conversation earlier. And remember that Medicare is available to help.
Take a look at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area, and 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.
Review the Medicare & You 2012 handbook. It is mailed to people with Medicare in September. Get one-on-one help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit www.medicare.gov/contacts or call 1-800-MEDICARE to get the phone number.

This message is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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