by Denise Early on Oct. 15, 2013, under Health
Today is the first day of Medicare Open Enrollment (OEP, also called “annual enrollment period”). Here are a few things to know about the Medicare OEP.
People on Medicare do not need to pay attention to the marketplaces that are part of Obamacare. Obamacare is mainly about getting health insurance for millions of Americans under 65. Medicare is health insurance for people over 65 and people under 65 with certain disabilities.
If you like your current coverage, you don’t need to do anything. Your current Medicare Advantage plan, or Part D plan, or Medicare supplement will roll over into 2014. You do not need to re-enroll.
You do need to read the information your Medicare Advantage plan sent to you at the end of September. The Annual Notice of Change tells you how your Medicare Advantage plan, or your Part D plan will change for 2014. And some plans have significant changes.
I recently wrote about the First Health Part D Value plan that is doubling its premium from $26 to $53. And UnitedHealthcare is dropping Silver Sneakers from its AARP Medicare Complete Plus (HMO-POS) plan here in Tucson. I don’t know about other states.
Unfortunately, Medicare.gov has lots of incorrect information about Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans. This is making it difficult for me to do research for clients, and I’ve told some that we need to wait a while before I try to compare plans side-by side. I hope we don’t have to wait too long because there are only about 45 days in the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
by Denise Early on Oct. 07, 2013, under Health
I was just on the Medicare.gov website comparing Medicare Advantage plans in Tucson side-by-side and I saw some big mistakes in the information. One plan’s co-pay for a skilled nursing facility is listed as $195 per day – and that is wrong. Another has a $225 charge for home health services – and that is wrong.
Last week I was checking Part D plans on Medicare.gov, and it looked like there were problems with some of the co-pay or co-insurance details.
Many of the co-pays in the Plan Finder seem to be correct, but then I came across incorrect information. So it really looks like I can’t use Medicare.gov right now – and it is the only way a broker can show plans side-by-side.
I have a number of clients who need to, or want to, compare their current Medicare Advantage plan to other plans, so I was going to print out information provided by the Medicare.gov Plan Finder. I am stuck now because I can’t count on Medicare.gov info until people at CMS get back to work and fix the Plan Finder.
Until the government shutdown ends and people are back to work, the Plan Finder will not be updated. It says it right on the Medicare.gov website.
by Denise Early on Oct. 04, 2013, under Health
Information on 2014 Part D and Medicare Advantage plans is available on Medicare.gov - but it may not be correct. The information was uploaded for October 1st and now the people who keep it up to date, or correct mistakes, are on furlough due to the government shutdown. Or is it “slimdown”?
I’ve been using the Plan Finder to help my clients find an alternative Part D plan for the First Health Part D Value plan I wrote about yesterday. But when I find a plan on Medicare.gov that looks like it will work for my client, I then go to that company’s website to double check.
The most important information would be how an expensive drug is covered, and I think I saw some questionable co-pay numbers on Medicare.gov. The numbers that came up as co-pays did not match the “non-preferred brand” co-pay for the plan or 33% co-pay for a “specialty drug”.
UPDATE 10/7/13: I was just comparing Medicare Advantage plans in Tucson side-by-side and I see some big mistakes in the info. One plan’s co-pay for a skilled nursing facility is listed as $195 per day – and that is wrong. Another has a $225 charge for home health services – and that is wrong. So it really looks like I can’t use Medicare.gov right now and it is the only way a broker can show plans side-by-side. I can fix the incorrect info by writing over it, but that is not allowed by Medicare.
So use Medicare.gov with caution at this point. And double check by going to the website for the plan(s) you think might work for you. Until the government shutdown ends and people are back to work, the Plan Finder will not be updated. It says it right on the Medicare.gov website.
To get started with the Plan Finder, go to Medicare.gov and click the link that looks like this:
Now is the time to do your research, but I would not count on Medicare.gov info until people at CMS get back to work and fix the Plan Finder. but enrollment is not allowed until October 15th.