Medicare Enrollment Nov 15 – Dec 31

December 15, 2010 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Medicare Enrollment Nov. 15 –Dec. 31

We are now in open enrollment time for Medicare beneficiaries, which run from Nov. 15th – Dec. 31st. Medicare is a federally funding health insurance program for anyone 65 years and older.

As a social worker at the Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information and Resource Line, I often get requests for information and referrals to resources for help with recommendations for one Medicare policy over another. I empower cancer patients and families to make their own educated decisions.

Patients should also talk to their friends and neighbors about their experiences with various Medicare plans. For patients that are uncomfortable with making this decision, they should try to identify potential family/friends that can fill this role.

With that in mind I have compiled a few key Medicare resources which are federal but not state specific. Of course, this is only a very small sampling of information, but here are some good quick links.

Kaiser Health News, Open Enrollment Questions: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2010/November/10/Michelle-Andrews-questions.aspx

2011 Medicare Handbook:
http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf

Medicare’s 8 things you should know when choosing/changing your policy: http://www.medicare.gov/new-to-medicare/choosing-or-changing-coverage.aspx

November and December is also the time for making decisions on drug plans for patients and families. The Medicare toolkit can help by having the patient list their medications and then show all the plans available, such as stand alone part D, or Medicare HMO/PPO/Advantage plans.

Center for Medicare & Medicaid toolkit site: http://www.cms.gov/center/openenrollment.asp (see “My Medicare Tools” on right hand side)

For patients who need a little more one-on-one assistance to navigate these systems, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a national program offering counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families. When calling SHIP it is important to tell all the details about yourself including, name, age, marital status, income, desire to stay with same doctor, type of disease, and questions about which plan to sign up for the year. Any and all of this type of personal information can be helpful in sorting through the options, and the SHIP staff is quite helpful in going over the choices with patients. To find the SHIP that services your area, you can use the search on medicare.gov:

http://www.medicare.gov/contacts/organization-search-criteria.aspx

Or the SHIP talk website:

https://www.shiptalk.org/Public/home.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fdefault.aspx

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Entry filed under: RLC Info & Resource Line.

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