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Medicare News

Senior Citizens Must Make 2013 Medicare Plan Choice by End of Open Enrollment on December 7

Just days remain for senior citizens to make Medicare plan choices for 2013 - if they want to change from current plan; HHS secretary says Obamacare has made health plans better

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 thru Dec. 7

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

Call 1-800 MEDICARE

Dec. 3, 2012 – With only days remaining before the window closes on Medicare Open Enrollment, senior citizens are being reminded that the improvements to the drug program by the Affordable Care Act have already saved 5.8 million seniors, and others with Medicare, $5.1 billion - primarily by reducing the donut hole. Seniors have until the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 7 to make new choices on a drug program or Medicare Advantage.

In just the first 10 months of 2012, almost 2.8 million individuals have saved an average of $677 on prescription drugs. Since the passage of Obamacare, 5.8 million people with Medicare have benefited, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.


Related Archive Stories


Medicare Open Enrollment: More is Better, Says Official on Medicare Blog

Original Medicare benefits stronger, greater value; Medicare Advantage plans often offer extras like vision, hearing, dental, drug plans, etc.

By Jonathan Blum, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare

Nov. 17, 2012

> See more links to news of Open Enrollment below news story...


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> Medicare Drug Program prior to 2009


“The health care law is saving money for people with Medicare,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Everyone with Medicare should look at their health and drug plan options for additional value before the Medicare open enrollment period ends this week.”

For 2013 the health care law provides people with Medicare in the donut hole with greater savings, as discounts rise to 53 percent of the cost of brand name drugs and 21 percent of the cost of generic drugs. Savings on Medicare coverage of prescription drugs will gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.

Because of the health care law, people with Medicare can be healthier with free access (no deductible or co-pay) to many preventive services. Before 2011, people with Medicare had to pay part of the cost for many preventive services. Cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early. In 2011, an estimated 32.5 million people with original Medicare or Medicare Advantage received one or more free preventive benefits.

Open Enrollment Period Ends Dec. 7

During Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, people with Medicare should compare costs, benefits and quality of Medicare health and drug plans to find the best value for 2013, according to the announcement from Sec. Sebelius.

People with Medicare should regularly examine their health care choices because individuals’ unique health needs as well as their health or prescription drug plan can change from year to year.

Those who make their coverage elections by Dec. 7, 2012, will ensure new coverage can begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2013.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) encourages people with Medicare to enroll in high quality plans and get the most value for their premiums. Medicare health and prescription drug plans with 5 star ratings may continuously market and enroll beneficiaries throughout 2013. Medicare beneficiaries in consistently low performing plans (those receiving less than 3 star ratings for at least the past three years) have been notified about their plan’s poor performance and how they can switch to a higher quality plan.

Additionally, earlier this month, CMS announced that individuals with Medicare who are affected by Hurricane Sandy and unable to make a plan selection by Dec. 7, 2012, can still enroll in health and prescription drug coverage for 2013 by calling 1-800-MEDICARE anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

People who are satisfied that their current coverage under original Medicare or a Medicare health or drug plan meets their needs for next year, do not need to take any action to continue their current coverage.

Medicare Resources

>> For state-by-state information on savings in the donut hole

>> Learn more about Medicare Drug Discounts

>> For state-by-state information on utilization of free preventive services for people with original Medicare

>> Learn more about Medicare Preventive Services

>> For more information about Medicare Open Enrollment

>> For details about Medicare Plan Quality Ratings

Links to More News About Early Enrollment for 2013

Medicare Extends Enrollment Period For Those Affected By Sandy

Can still enroll after the midnight Dec. 7 deadline if you call Medicare’s 24-hour information line, 1- 800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227)

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News Blog - Nov. 9, 2012

Medicare Hoping to Nudge Seniors Out of Drug, Health Plans with Low Ratings

First time Medicare officials have tried to steer beneficiaries away from some private drug and medical plans, while still allowing them to operate

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News - Nov. 7, 2012

Medicare Open Enrollment Season Opens For Advantage Health and Drug Plans

Seniors have been reluctant to change plans, even if there are cheaper or better-rated alternatives

By Susan Jaffe, Capsules -The KHN Blog - Oct. 15, 2012

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

Oct. 12, 2012

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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