Thursday, October 10, 2019

Medicare open enrollment begins Tuesday, Oct. 15

The open enrollment period for Medicare begins Tuesday, Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 1. This is the period in which Medicare beneficiaries can select new health-insurance plans and adapt to changes in costs and coverage and their health-care needs. If they do nothing, their current coverage will continue in 2020.

The new year will see the end of the Medicare Part D "donut hole." Beneficiaries will pay no more than 25 percent of the cost of brand-name and generic prescription drugs after any deductible, until they reach the limit on out-of-pocket spending. Also, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans will offer nontraditional services, such as transportation to a doctor's office, home safety improvements, or services of nutritionists.

"Because Medicare is such a large program — serving close to 60 million or almost one in five Americans — it’s also a big target for scammers," the Danville Advocate-Messenger says in an editorial. It notes that the Kaiser Family Foundation "recommends using the website or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) to find a Medicare plan you like."

The foundation has many frequently asked questions about Medicare, with answers. It advises, “If you are covered by Medicare, and you are interested in reviewing and comparing your Medicare options, make sure the plans you are considering during the Medicare open enrollment period are Medicare plans, not Marketplace plans. Medicare plans are not sold through the federal or state Marketplace websites,” which are used to sell federally subsidized insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.

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