Counselors Ready As Open Enrollment Begins For Medicare

Henrietta Strickland
October 18, 2019

There's a big need for help in Florida.

Humana isn't adding new counties to its existing service area in Minnesota, but the insurer will start selling for 2020 a new Medicare Advantage HMO in parts of the Twin Cities metro.

"The Medicare Advantage market in 2020 will have more plans [across the country] than we have ever seen in this market", said Gretchen Jacobson, associate director of the program on Medicare policy at the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation.

This kind of framing and description of Medicare for All - that it would eliminate private health insurance and force people off their current plans - pervades the mainstream narrative around single-payer health care. This part does require a monthly premium and deductible. Medicare Advantage plans generally restrict your choice of service providers.

Oklahomans wanting to make changes to various aspects of their Medicare coverage or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan can do so during the upcoming annual enrollment period (AEP), which runs from October 15 to December 7. Quite often, MA plans also include prescription drug coverage, in which case they are called MA-PD plans. Every Medigap policy must follow federal and state laws and they're identified by different letters. Beneficiaries must have Medicare Part A and/or B to enroll in a prescription drug plan. Medigap Plan C did not cover excess charges but Medigap Plan F did cover 100 percent of a person's medical bills, both the copays and the $185 deductible.

More information about Medicare is also available on the Medicare Facebook page and by following @MedicareGov on Twitter. That's where Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) comes in.

For those newly enrolled, they will have to seek another Medigap coverage plan.

"It is an option, but the beneficiary may pay a life-time penalty to join after they first become eligible for Medicare", said Honroth.

People's health and financial status can change over the course of a year. The plan does not work with any other type of insurance. While a growing number of seniors have been opting for Medicare Advantage, the majority of beneficiaries remain in original Medicare. But by peddling half-truths about Medicare for All and single-payer health care, the mainstream media unfairly characterize the policy as both extremely unpopular and bad for the country.

Medicare Advantage plans aren't for everyone. It enables you to compare costs based on your specific prescriptions.

- Build a personal drug list and find a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) that best meets your needs. If you don't pay attention you can end up missing needed coverage or paying more out-of-pocket expenses in premiums, co-pays and deductibles than you realize - or can afford.

Switch from one drug plan (Part D) to another.

The Medicare website offers a Plan Finder to help you shop for drug plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans.

If a Medicare recipient has limited income and resources, they can try to qualify for Medicare's "Extra Help" program. She also offers informational tables on Medicare in area Discount Drug Mart stores. Medicare recipients can no longer use the old card after January 1, 2020, so anyone who hasn't received a new one should contact 1-800-Medicare, said SHINE's Chansler.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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