Answers to questions about Medicare open enrollment period

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment period begins Saturday October 15 through December 7.

Today members of the Senior LinkAge Line from the Minnesota Board on Aging will be available to answer questions. 

During the 11 a.m. news you can call the Senior LinkAge line directly at 1-800-333-2433. The line is open Monday through Friday 8 to 4:30 p.m.

During the 4, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts call the phone bank in studio at 1-888-546-8811.

Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare health or drug plan, change to a new plan or disenroll from their plan. The plan changes take effect on January 1, 2017.

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Here are some tips from Robin Thompson, Information and Assistance Director with the Senior LinkAge Line.

1. Review your plan notice. Be sure to read any notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year, especially your “Annual Notice of Change” letter.

a. Look at your plan’s information to make sure your drugs are still covered and your doctors and other health care providers are still in network.

2. Think about what matters most to you. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs.

a. Does your current plan offer the level of coverage you need based on your current health and medication needs?

b. Comparing plan options each year is a good way to save money and be a wise consumer.

3. Find out if you qualify for help paying for your Medicare. Learn about programs to help pay your Medicare costs

a. Programs available to help pay:

i. Medicare Premiums and other out-of-pocket costs
ii. Medicare Part D costs.

b. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433. 

4. Shop for plans available in your area that meet your needs and fit your budget.

a. Use the Medicare’s plan finder tool at Medicare.gov

b. Call Medicare 1-800-633-4227 (24 hours a day, including weekends)

c. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 (M-F; 8-4:30)

d. If you find that your current coverage still meets your needs, then you’re done.

5. Check a plan’s star rating before you enroll. The Medicare Plan Finder has been updated with the Star Ratings for Medicare health and prescription drug plans.

a. Plans are given an overall quality rating on a 1 to 5 Star scale.

b. 1 star represents poor performance and 5 stars represents excellent performance.

c. Use the Star Ratings to compare the quality of health and drug plans being offered.
 

(© 2016 KARE)


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