Medicare Open Enrollment Earlier This Fall
A provision under the Affordable Care Act has changed Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period to start a full month earlier than last year. The new dates are October 15 through December 7. The earlier period stretches over seven weeks, which is also longer than last year’s period of November 15 through December 31.
The intention of the earlier enrollment period is to give beneficiaries enough time to review their health care coverage and make changes. The earlier dates will also ensure that updated membership cards are received before new coverage starts on January 1, 2012.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare is stronger than ever,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “On average, Medicare Advantage premiums will go down next year and seniors will enjoy more free benefits and cheaper prescription drugs.”
Medicare is not only important to seniors. It is important to people with disabilities who are receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. After a mandatory waiting period of 24 months they are entitled to Medicare, which helps cover specific health services such as hospital care, doctors, and prescription drugs.
Plans can change from year to year so, if you are already on Medicare, be sure to review your health care and prescription drug plan during this open enrollment period.
You can get more information about Medicare at Medicare.gov. Or call 1-800-MEDICARE.Remember: Open Enrollment for 2012 starts and ends early this year: October 15 through December 7