Medicare open enrollment is between November 15 and December 31. This is your opportunity to switch Medicare drug or health care plans. It is the perfect time to review your coverage and is extra important this year because of the new federal health law.
AARP and the State of Idaho Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) have scheduled statewide meetings to help people select the right prescription drug program. The meeting in the Boise Valley is scheduled for Monday November 15. There will be free on-site consultation with advisors, and no sales or marketing will occur. The location is at the AARP Idaho office, 3080 E. Gentry Way, Suite 100, Meridian, Idaho 83642 from 9:30 to 3:30 p.m. on a first-come, first- serve basis. No appointments are necessary. The publicity on the AARP website states “Confused by Medicare Rx? What you don’t know could cost you money! What is the best way to save money on prescription drugs? Do you know how to protect yourself against Medicare Fraud? Do you have the right prescription drug plan for your needs?”
Five reasons why you will want to review your plan.
- You have a limited time period to change plans running from November 15 to December 31, 2010.
- Your prescription drug plan can change their premiums, deductions and available list of drugs they cover, so your current plan may not be the best for you.
- The cost of the prescription drug “donut hole” should decrease for most seniors in 2011 because Medicare participants will receive a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and a 7% discount on generic drugs. Unfortunately, it will take until the year 2020 before the donut hole is eliminated.
- Under the new law, Medicare will now pay 100% of preventative care, such as annual wellness exams.
- If you find you want to change plans, in 2011 you have between January 1 and February 15, which is 30 days shorter than in 2010.
Here are three steps you can take to help yourself:
- Contact your Medicare supplemental insurance agent;
- Attend the AARP meeting on November 15 to get more information that applies to you;
- If you want to evaluate your plan, go to http://www.medicare.gov/default.aspx
Insurance agents will be sending their clients a letter with an authorization for the agent to work with clients, which must be signed and returned to the agent. After November 15, the agent can then set an appointment to talk with the client about his or her Medicare and supplemental insurance needs.