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Medicare News

Medicare Enrollment for Drug Plans, Medicare Advantage Earlier This Year

Open enrollment begins October 15 rather than November 15

Medicare Plan Review video.

Sept. 12, 2011 – Senior citizens are already receiving information on the 2012 drug plans from their Medicare Part D insurance companies. Registration for next year is coming earlier this year – it has been changed to open October 15 and end on December 7 in 2011.

In the past, Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans began on November 15 and ended on December 31. The period will be shortened in 2011 to 45 days.


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Through July about 1.3 million with Medicare save on donut hole drug discounts; 18.9 million get free preventive care - links to info to help you save

Sept. 8, 2011


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“This change to the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period for 2012 plans is bound to catch many people off guard,” according to Medicare Plan Review.

“It is in your best interest if you are interested in enrolling in an Advantage Plan for 2012 to be proactive and compare plans as soon as possible. If you are enrolled in a plan currently be alert for any notices from your current plan sponsor.”

Medicare Open Enrollment Page Still Has 2010 Data - click to page.

Medicare beneficiaries will need to make decisions earlier this year about their health and prescription plans for 2012 because the enrollment period is October 15 to December 7 ,” says Cheryl St. Clair, program director for Indiana’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

"By starting earlier in October, it will give people with Medicare an opportunity to really focus on their health care choices and not have so many activities going on because of the holidays."

St. Clair says people can call SHIP, Medicare or the insurance plans directly. She thinks, however, Medicare recipients can get a better look at their options by call SHIP, which has offices in all states.

"A comparison for the Medicare Advantage Health plans and also the drug plans - they would call our 800 number and we would send out that comparison." The SHIP number for Indiana is 800-452-4800.

For the SHIP number in any state, click here

For the SHIP counseling office in your county, click here

Terri Fey, a technical advisor for the Division of Medicare Health Plan Operations, says there are very strict guidelines insurance plans must follow.

"For example, they can't say that they're endorsed by Medicare or that they're calling on our behalf or that Medicare asked them to call them or to see them. That is strictly not allowed."

Fey says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services monitors insurance plans and their agents and can take action against them. Any time seniors feels someone has crossed the line, they can file a complaint with Senior Medicare Patrol at 800-986-3505, or get in touch with Medicare.

The Medicare Plan Review website provides the quick review of changes in enrollment for 2012.

The following is a quick reference of changes to the enrollment period for Advantage Plans with a January 2012 effective date.

   ● The Annual Enrollment Period will begin October 15, 2011 and end December 7, 2011. This is a change from years past when the Annual Enrollment Period began November 15 and ended December 31.

   ● The open Enrollment Period which ran from January 1 through March 31 was eliminated for 2011 plans and is no longer available.

   ● If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan your only opportunity to make a change is between January 1 and February 14. During this period you will only be allowed to dis-enroll from your Advantage Plan and return to original Medicare. You may purchase a stand-alone Part D Plan and purchase a Medicare supplement if you wish.

>> Check on Your Medicare Enrollment

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