Medicare Open Enrollment Has Arrived!

FotoliaThis year’s Medicare Open Enrollment period is here! Starting on October 15, Medicare recipients can make any changes they think will help improve their coverage for 2015. If you are a Michigan caregiver who hasn’t been through this with your senior loved one before, it may be a little confusing. To help you sort through the process and make an informed decision, we are sharing the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

How many times a year can a Medicare recipient make changes?

Open enrollment is the one time a year you have to explore your options and make changes. The dates for doing so are the same every year: October 15 through December 7.

How do I help my senior loved one get started?

Most experts recommend beginning with a review of what worked and what didn’t work this year. Were there medications your parent’s physician wanted them to have that weren’t included in their plan? Did their favorite physician retire? Has your parent moved to a new community and their old providers are too far away? Medicare has a free brochure that will help with your review.

What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?

These health care plans are ones offered by private insurance companies. Each of them contracts with Medicare to provide Medicare A and B benefits. The Medicare Advantage plans fall under Medicare Part C.

Do we need to do anything to keep coverage just as it is?

If your senior loved one is happy with their Medicare plan just as it is, they do not have to do anything. Their 2015 Medicare coverage will stay the same.

If we do make changes, when will they take effect?

If you make any changes during open enrollment, they will take effect on January 1, 2015. 

Is there anyone we can call to have questions answered?

Yes. You can call Medicare for help 24/7 at 1-(800) MEDICARE.