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Medicare News

Medicare Quality Ratings for 2013 Health, Drug Plans Added to Plan Finder

More four, five star plans than ever before for open enrollment – Oct. 15 – Dec. 7

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 thru Dec. 7

To find Medicare tools and information, and compare the cost or benefits of 2013 Medicare health plans in your area, Click Here.

Call 1-800 MEDICARE

Oct. 12, 2012 – With the Medicare Open Enrollment set to open on Monday, October 15, the quality ratings for 2013 Medicare health and drug plans were released today on the web-based Medicare Plan Finder. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement today and also declared that people with Medicare have more high quality choices and the performance of Medicare Advantage plans is improving.

During Medicare Open Enrollment, which lasts from October 15 through December 7, people with Medicare can use the star ratings to compare the quality of health and drug plan options and select the plans that are the best value for their needs for 2013.

Editor's Note: New research indicates most senior citizens are not making the best choice available to them in drug plans - see link in box for Related Archive Stories.


Related Archive Stories


Seniors Citizens Overspend On Medicare Part D Drug Program: Health Affairs Study

Only 5.2 percent of Medicare recipients chose the most economic Part D plan available - Oct. 11, 2012

Seniors Must Shop to Avoid Big Hikes in Top Medicare Drug Plans: Avalere

Average increase may be moderate in 2013, but varies widely; 7 of top 10 plans have double digit premium jumps

Sept. 26, 2012

Medicare Enrollment to Open with Premiums Flat for Drug, Advantage Plans in 2013

Medicare Advantage Plans expected to continue growth – up 28% since Obamacare, cost down 10%; Enrollment opens Oct. 15 for 2013 plans

Sept. 20, 2012

HHS Touts Growth in Medicare Advantage Plans, Drop in Premiums Ahead of Hearing

GOP working on case that Obamacare cut MA plans, causing seniors to leave program; House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing Friday

Sept. 20, 2012

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Premiums to Remain Steady for Third Year

Annual enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, 2012.

Aug. 7, 2012

Couple of Things Seniors May Not Know About Social Security, Medicare

There are things women in particular should know about Social Security

Aug. 3, 2012


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“In 2013, people with Medicare will have access to a wide range of plan choices, including more four and five star plans than ever before,” said Secretary Sebelius.

In 2013 seniors with Medicare will have available -

   ● Access to 127 four or five-star Medicare Advantage plans. These plans currently serve 37 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees, and may attract more with their improved quality ratings. In 2012, people with Medicare had access to 106 four or five star plans, which served only 28 percent of enrollees.

   ● Access to 26 four or five star prescription drug plans, which currently serve 18 percent of enrollees. This is an improvement from 2012, in which 13 four or five star plans are serving only 9 percent of enrollees.

In the rating system Medicare plans are given an overall rating on a 1 to 5 star scale, with 1 star representing poor performance and 5 stars representing excellent performance. Users of the Plan Finder will also see a gold star icon designating the top rated 5-star plans, and a different icon for those plans who are consistently poor performers.

As a result of provisions in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Medicare is doing more to promote enrollment in high quality plans and alert beneficiaries who are enrolled in lower quality plans.

Now, persons with Medicare enrolled in consistently low performing plans (those receiving less than 3 stars for at least the past 3 years) will receive notifications to let them know how they can change to a higher quality plan if they choose to do so.

Five-Star Plans Have Enrollment All Year

In addition, 5-star plans are rewarded by being allowed to continuously market and enroll beneficiaries throughout the year. In 2012, thousands of people with Medicare took advantage of this opportunity to join a top performing plan.

Obamacare Offers More Coverage in Donut Hole

Obamacare phases out the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap also known as the “donut hole.” In 2013, people with Medicare who reach the “donut hole” will receive approximately 53 percent off the cost of brand name drugs and 21 percent off the cost of generic drugs. Medicare beneficiaries will also continue to benefit from Medicare-covered preventive services at zero cost-sharing, including a yearly Wellness visit.

At the same time that quality is improving and benefits are increasing, premiums in the Medicare Advantage program are remaining steady, according to HHS. Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 through 2013, Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen by 10 percent and enrollment is increasing by 28 percent. The average estimated basic Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) premium is projected to hold steady from last year, at $30 for 2013.

Medicare Plan Finder users can search for MA and Prescription Drug Plans being offered in their areas by inserting their home zip code. The Medicare Formulary Finder is also available online to help people with Medicare find local plans that cover their specific medications. Both Finders and other helpful Medicare tools are available at

For details about the 2013 Part C and D Plan Quality Ratings released today, click here.

For more information about Open Enrollment, click here.

Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

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In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

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Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)


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