Each year, you have a chance to make changes to your Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. This annual enrollment period is called Open Enrollment and takes place from October 15 through December 7. The changes that you make during this enrollment period will take effect on January 1, 2014.
If you decide to stay with your current plan there you don’t need to do anything.
Medicare Advantage Plans Changes: During this period you may join a Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drug coverage, if you have original Medicare. You may also cancel your current advantage plan and return to original Medicare. If you already have Medicare Advantage, you may switch to another advantage plan with or without drug coverage.
Prescription Drug Plan Changes: If you have original Medicare and no drug coverage, you may add a prescription drug plan. If you already have Medicare drug coverage, you may switch to a different plan, or drop your current coverage.
5 Star Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage Plans: There is a special enrollment period for 5 star advantage plans. You may join or switch between 5-Star rated advantage plans at any time during the year, ONCE per year. 5 Star Plans are marked with a golden star in the Medicare.gov Plan Finder.
Dis-Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage Plans: During the Annual Dis-Enrollment period, you may elect to dis-enroll from your current Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare. You also have the chance to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during this time, after you cancel your advantage plan. The 2014 Medicare Dis-Enrollment period is from January 1 through February 14, 2014. Changes to your coverage will take effect the first day of the month after the plan received your enrollment form.
Defend yourself against Medicare fraud!
Every year, Medicare loses billions of dollars to fraudulent claims which increase our health care costs. Stopping fraud requires cooperation from the government, health care providers, insurers, law enforcement and citizens like you. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Record the dates of doctor’s appointments on a calendar, tests and services you get, and save the receipts and statements from your providers. Compare the dates and services on your calendar with your "Medicare Summary Notices" (MSNs) to make sure details are correct. If you find items listed in your claims that you don’t have a record of, it’s possible that you or Medicare may have been billed for services or items you didn’t get. You can visit www.MyMedicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to review your Medicare claims. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, call your plan for more information about a claim.
- Look for signs of fraud, including claims you don’t recognize on your MSNs and advertisements or phone calls from companies offering free items or services to people with Medicare. Never give your Medicare number in exchange for a special offer.
- Protect your Medicare number; don’t give it out, except to your doctor or other health care provider. Medicare will never contact you and ask for personal information, like your Medicare or bank account numbers. Never let someone use your Medicare card and never use another person’s card.
To learn more about Medicare fraud, visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. (from “4R’s for Fighting Medicare Fraud”)
Katheen Stice is a Insurance Counseling Coordinator/Health Program Specialist with OASIS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.