Open Enrollment was moved to start earlier this year, but that also means the deadline is earlier as well. Regardless of what type of Medicare you have (Original, Advantage or Part D) – now is the time to make any changes for the following year! Beginning October 15 and ending December 7, Medicare’s Annual Election Period, more commonly known as open enrollment, is the perfect time to survey your current needs and compare plans to ensure you have the best coverage for you. Doing so can save you money!

Questions to ask yourself:

Changes in your condition or location can indicate your plan may need updating. It is possible that you are paying for too much coverage, or that you are not being covered in the areas most important to your situation.

Medicare Changes

It’s important to keep in mind Medicare plans also change from year to year. Costs can go up or down, benefits offered can be added or dropped, territories can be redrawn and the list of prescription drugs covered can fluctuate. This is why it is crucial to evaluate all the plans and how they might have changed during this open enrollment period. You might find switching to a different plan can benefit you more OR you might find that you are better off right where you are.

By visiting or calling 800-MEDICARE, you can compare the plans available and enroll in a new plan if you choose. Selections you make will not take effect until January 1, 2012.

What are the options during open enrollment? You can…

Medicare has a handy dandy online plan finder program specifically for prescription drugs. Enter your ZIP code, the names of the drugs you take, their dosages and how often you take them and with the click of the mouse it will indicate the plan in your area covering your drugs at the least overall out-of-pocket cost.

Many enrollees don’t bother to compare all the plans available, and as a result, fewer than seven percent are in a plan that offers the lowest out-of-pocket costs. By simply comparing and contrasting the plans, you could be saving yourself several hundred dollars next year. And that can make a huge difference in this tight economy!

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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