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NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mitchell Clark
Education Coordinator
212-204-6286

December 5, 2013

Last Chance to Change Your Medicare Health and Drug Coverage Options without Restriction
–Fall Open Enrollment Period Ends on December 7—

New York, NY – People with Medicare have until Saturday, December 7, to make changes to their Medicare health and drug coverage without restriction. The changes will take effect on January 1.

“Fall Open Enrollment is ending this week, so now is the time to review all of the options available to you, even if you are happy with your coverage.” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. “Plans can change their costs and benefits every year, and what works for you this year may not be your best choice in 2014. It’s important to take stock of your current health and drug coverage and to consider your health and financial needs. If you decide to make a change, make sure to do so by December 7.”

People with Medicare who become unhappy with the Medicare Advantage plan they chose during Fall Open Enrollment are able to switch to Original Medicare and a stand-alone prescription drug plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), which begins January 1 and ends February 14. They will also have the right to add a Part D prescription drug plan during the MADP. They will not, however, be able to switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. People with Original Medicare will not be allowed to make changes during the MADP.

“The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is a limited window of opportunity that can be useful for some beneficiaries,” said Baker. “But it’s important to remember that if you make a change during that time, you may not be able to get a Medigap plan to fill the gaps in coverage, or your Medigap choices may be limited. It’s best to put the time in now to find the best plan for you, because after December 7 may be too late.”

Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplaces:
A New Toolkit from the Medicare Rights CenterOpen enrollment for the new Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces ends on March 31, 2014. It’s important to note that this is a separate enrollment period than Medicare Fall Open Enrollment, and people with Medicare should make changes to their coverage by December 7.Medicare Rights recently released a new toolkit containing a variety of trainings, FAQs, case examples and fact sheets to help people make the right choices based on their Medicare eligibility and identify the best health insurance for their individual needs.The toolkit can be used to provide trainings to consumers, employer benefits staff and other professionals. Employers and professionals may also use the case examples and fact sheets when counseling consumers.Download the toolkit at: http://www.medicarerights.org/pdf/medicare-and-marketplaces-toolkit.pdf.

Additional Resources

  • Medicare Interactive (www.medicareinteractive.org) provides free consumer-friendly information about Medicare benefits, rights and options.
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) provide free counseling services. To find your local SHIP, go to shipnpr.shiptalk.org or call 800-677-1116.

For more detailed information about the Fall Open Enrollment Period, including questions to consider when choosing a plan and tips for enrolling in a new plan, please see: http://www.medicarerights.org/pdf/2013-fall-open-enrollment-resource-for-journalists.

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

 

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