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Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Opens Enrollment for 2014 Plans, Says Plan Prices Holding Steady

See video in story on how to use the Medicare Plan Finder to compare available plans, make your selection; lead video about Open Enrollment period

Oct. 15, 2013 - Medicare Open Enrollment opened today, according to an announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which has been dark since the government shutdown resulting from the Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act. The enrollment period will end on December 7. The CMS announcement encourages people with Medicare to review their current health and prescription drug coverage options for 2014 and reminds them this is not part of the Affordable Care Act’s new Health Insurance Marketplace, and people with Medicare do not need to do anything with Marketplace plans.

 “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare remains strong with more benefits, better choices, and lower costs to beneficiaries,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.  “Seniors and people with disabilities have the opportunity to find and compare the best plan for them.”   

CMS announced last month that the average Medicare Advantage (MA) premium is projected to be $32.60.   Earlier this year, CMS estimated that the average basic Medicare prescription drug premium plan in 2014 was projected to be $31 per month, holding steady for four years in a row.  

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, average MA premiums are down by 9.8 percent.  The deductible for standard Part D plans will decline by $15 in 2014 to $310.  Prescription drug and health plan quality continues to improve as over one-third of MA contracts will receive four or more stars, which is an increase from 28 percent last year.  CMS is allowing 5-star Medicare health and prescription drug plans to enroll beneficiaries at any time during the year.  

Medicare plans’ coverage options and costs can change each year, and Medicare beneficiaries should evaluate their current coverage and choices, and select the plan that best meets their needs.  If people with Medicare are satisfied with their current coverage and feel it will meet their needs for 2014, they do not need to do anything.  

For more information on Medicare Open Enrollment and to compare benefits and prices of 2014 Medicare health and drug plans, and view state-by-state fact sheets, visit: www.cms.gov/Center/Special-Topic/Open-Enrollment-Center.html.  

Resources for Medicare Beneficiaries

People with Medicare, their families, and caregivers can review and compare current plan coverage with new plan offerings, using many proven resources, including:

     •  Visiting www.medicare.gov to see plan coverage and costs available in their area, and enroll in a new plan if they decide to make a change.  Open Enrollment information is available in Spanish.

     •  Calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for around-the-clock assistance to find out more about coverage options.  TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.  Multilingual counseling is available.  

     •  Reviewing the 2014 Medicare & You handbook.  It is accessible online at: www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf -- and it has been mailed to the homes of people with Medicare.

     •  Getting one-on-one counseling assistance from the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).  Local SHIP contact information can be found:

         o  At www.medicare.gov/contacts/organization-search-criteria.aspx or;
         o  On the back of the 2014 Medicare & You handbook or;
         o  By calling Medicare (contact information above)  

People with Medicare who have limited income and resources may qualify for Extra Help paying for their prescription drug costs.  There is no cost or obligation to apply for Extra Help, also called the low-income subsidy.  Medicare beneficiaries, family members, or caregivers can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) to find out more.  

Protecting Against Fraud and Theft

During Medicare Open Enrollment, Medicare recommends that people with Medicare treat their Medicare number as they do their Social Security number and credit card information.  

People with Medicare should never give their personal information to anyone arriving at their home uninvited or making unsolicited phone calls selling Medicare-related products or services.  Beneficiaries who believe they are a victim of fraud or identity theft should contact Medicare (contact information above).  More information is at www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.  

View more Medicare videos 

 

Medicare Open Enrollment 2014 - Related Archive Stories

 
   

Good Summary of Your Medicare Coverage Options as Open Enrollment Begins

Window for making changes to your Medicare coverage opens October 15, closes December 7

Oct. 14, 2013 - With the Medicare’s open enrollment period opening on Tuesday, this is a good summary of the basics about Medicare health insurance – what is available to keep you healthy with plans that meet your needs. It is by Pamela Yip, a business writer for the Dallas Morning News, who regularly covers Medicare. Click to Dallas Morning News

Analysis Finds Good News on 2014 Medicare Prescription Drug Premiums

Overall stable or lower cost options available to seniors finds HealthPocket study

Oct. 11, 2013

Medicare Advantage Plan Out-of-Pocket Caps for 2014 Look Good For Consumers

Drug plans with low cost-sharing limits and no premiums available: HealthPocket

Oct. 11, 2013

AARP Offers Tips, Guidance on Choosing Plans During Medicare Open Enrollment

Changes can be made to Medicare plans from October 15 through December 7; Distinction between Medicare and Affordable Care Act open enrollment is important

Oct. 10, 2013

Consumer Reports Ranks, Scores Medicare Advantage, Other Health Plans for 2014

CR finds that higher cost does not mean better care; complete report in magazine, rankings free online, Medicare open enrollment starts October 15

Oct. 5, 2013

Understanding the Difference between Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplaces

Marketplaces are for people who do not have insurance, people on Medicare are insured by Medicare

By Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA

Oct. 1, 2013

Senior Citizens Need to Get Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment

Seniors covered by Medicare do not need to buy health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace - Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15

Oct. 1, 2013

As Medicare Open Enrollment Nears More Seniors Opting for Quality Medicare Advantage Plans

Open enrollment begins October 15 and ends on December 7; period when those in Medicare can choose new health and drug plans

Sept. 19, 2013


 
 

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