Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Closes Wednesday Night

There are only two days left now to sign up or make changes to your current Medicare plan before the December 7th deadline.

The deadline this year is about three weeks sooner than it was last year.

One local program is afraid some senior citizens aren't aware of the new deadline.

It's important to understand Medicare won't make any exceptions after that date.

"Medicare actually calls it the lock in period," Matt Ladich says.

Ladich is the Director of Government Programs for Hometown Health, and works with Senior Care Plus.

He's concerned seniors are going to miss the deadline this year, because it's more than three weeks sooner than last year.

Health care reform changes eliminated an extra spring enrollment period. Now, it's only a dis-enrollment period where people can drop coverage, but not add it.

"It's important for everyone to shop around every year Medicare Advantage Plans even Senior Care Plus will change year to year or we'll add benefits, one of the big things they'll look for on our plans is supplemental benefits so every year we may add dental, vision, hearing aide coverage something a lot of our beneficiaries seem to be interested in," Ladich says.

Over the past two months nearly 2,000 people have come to Senior Care Plus to ask questions about the annual medicare enrollment that ends tomorrow."

"We expect Thursday and Friday to be very busy where people will want to change plans or enroll, and they won't be able to," Ladich says.

Ladich says there were many senior citizens who ran into that problem last year. A problem no one wants to see repeated this year.

People with Medicare can now review their drug and health plan coverage options for 2012 as part of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

CMS is highlighting plans that have achieved an overall quality rating of five stars with a high performer or “gold star” icon on Medicare’s Plan Finder – www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.

For more information about how the Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time, go to http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11493.pdf

For State-by-State information on the number of people who are benefiting from discounts in the donut hole in 2011, go to https://www.cms.gov/Plan-Payment/ For State-by-State information on utilization of free preventive services and the Annual Wellness Visit, go to http://www.cms.gov/NewMedia/02_preventive.asp

For more information on Medicare’s prevention benefits, go to the Share the News. Share the Health! website: http://www.medicare.gov/share-the-health/or contact 1-800-MEDICARE.


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