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Medicare Help to Guide Your Open Enrollment Challenge

Medicare Open Enrollment – the time to make changes in your Medicare services – opens tomorrow and closes on December 7

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Medicare videos may help you with Open Enrollment - see links below

Oct. 14, 2015 – Medicare Open Enrollment – it begins tomorrow, but for many senior citizens it is not something they eagerly anticipate each year. Not liking change just seems to be something that develops in our DNA as we become a senior. And, it is made even more distasteful knowing the whole system of choosing the right health and drug plans is designed for using a computer to go online.

That is the reality, but if you are one of the growing number of seniors that feels comfortable with a computer – and you probably are, since you read – Medicare makes a lot of information available to beneficiaries to simplify the task. Below are links to a lot of helpful information, including videos that should help.

Medicare Open Enrollment

The 2015 plans are now available at Medicare Plan Finder to review and compare. You can join a plan starting October 15, 2014 and ending December 7, 2014.

What you can do -

>  Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.

>  Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.

>  Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.

>  Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.

>  Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage.

>  Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

>   Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.

>  Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Your needs in health insurance change from time to time and so do the provisions of the health insurance plans offered by Medicare. This is what makes the annual enrollment period so important. It is a time when you to better match your needs to the available plans, as well as a chance to maybe save a few dollars.

One the options we have is to choose if we want to be covered in 2015 by traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Program.

Medicare says whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll still have these same basic benefits and security that you had in 2014.

One big change in 2015: if you reach the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, you’ll get a 55% discount on covered brand name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs.

The most important web link in this whole process is to the Medicare Plan Finder, where Medicare has simplified things to help you find the best drug plan for you.

But take the time to notice the links in the drop-down menus on this page. They can guide you to almost all the information you need to know about choosing the Medicare services and plans to fill you needs.

More Key Links from Medicare to Help You Choose Your Best Plan

Videos from Medicare on YouTube:

>> Medicare & You: Medicare Open Enrollment

>> Medicare & You: Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods

>> Medicare & You: Ways to Save Money

>> All YouTube Videos from CMS

Helpful Online Information

Things to Think about when You Compare Plans - Opens in a new window

Using Quality to Compare Plans - Opens in a new window

Mymedicare - Opens in a new window

CMS Regional Offices

Get Your Medicare Questions Answered - Opens in a new window

How Medicare's Beneficiary Ombudsman is Working For You - Opens in a new window - Opens in a new window

Information on Extra Financial Help

Extra Help Application - Opens in a new window

Limited Income and Resources

Save on your Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage costs even if you don't automatically qualify for extra help - Opens in a new window

SSA Information - Opens in a new window

Are You Having Trouble Paying for Prescription Drugs (English) - Opens in a new window

Are You Having Trouble Paying for Prescription Drugs (Spanish) - Opens in a new window

Do You Need Extra Help With Medicare Drug Costs (English) - Opens in a new window

Spanish Language Information

VIDEO: Medicare y Usted: Cómo ahorrar dinero (Sept. 3, 2014)

Have you done your yearly Medicare Plan review? (publication # 11220)

Things to Think About When You Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (publication # 11163)

Understanding Medicare Part C & D Enrollment Periods (publication # 11219)

Where to Get Your Medicare Questions Answered

  >>  Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day/7 days a week to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

  >>  Review the Medicare & You 2015 handbook. It’s mailed to people with Medicare in September and it is available online.

  >>  If you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get Extra Help paying your prescription drug coverage costs. For more information, visit or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.

  >>  Get one-on-one help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE to get the phone number.


Related Archive Stories


Happy senior couple looking at computer screen

Medicare & You Available Online or for E-Readers as Help for Open Enrollment

Printed books have been mailed but if you have not received it, or prefer electronic data convenience it is online to help seniors with Open Enrollment, which starts Wednesday

Oct. 13, 2015

Medicare 2015 Part B Charges Remain Unchanged, Part A Deductible Up Some

Premiums, copays and deductibles for other Medicare programs for 2015 also announced - Oct. 9, 2014

Nine Tips for the Daunting Task of Signing Up For Medicare

Enrolling in Medicare is a ‘daunting task’ even for a consumer reporter who has written about health-insurance - Oct. 7, 2015

Medicare Open Enrollment Starts October 15, Here is What We Know So Far

Premiums not expected to rise overall in 2015 - some may decline - but some plans have signaled significantly higher rates - Oct. 1, 2014

Most and Least Expensive Medicare Drug, Advantage Plans Identified for 2015

With Medicare Open Enrollment beginning on October 15, free website presents an analysis of advantage and drug plans - September 19, 2014

Medicare Advantage Plans Growing, Small Premium Increases for 2015

Seniors will see wide range of Medicare health, drug plans when enrollment opens October 15, says CMS - September 19, 2014

Confusion about Medicare and Marketplace Cleared up by CMS Q&A

Many seniors will be surprised by this Q&A about Medicare and the Marketplace of the Affordable Care Art - Aug. 26, 2014

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