The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the opening of the Medicare open enrollment period from October 15, 2021. Medicare beneficiaries get the chance to review their coverage options and make the choices that best meet their health needs. During this period, healthcare consumers get the opportunity to make the appropriate changes in their health plans or prescription drug plans. They can also pick a Medicare Advantage Plan according to their needs. It’s pertinent to mention here that the Open Enrollment Period occurs every year from October 15 to December 7. However, the change in health coverage plans takes effect from January 1. During this time, consumers become able to review their current plans and seek changes in order to seek quality medical care at affordable costs. CMS in an official press release has issued the following instructions, that should be kept in mind while shopping for Medicare coverage:
- Check if doctors are still in-network and prescriptions are on the plan’s formulary.
- Realize that the plan with the lowest monthly premium may not always be the best fit for specific health needs.
- Look at the plan’s deductible and other out-of-pocket costs that factor into total costs.
- Know that some plans offer extra benefits, like vision, hearing, or dental coverage, which could help meet individual health care needs.
- Consider whether Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan is the best choice.
In addition to this, here are the guidelines you can follow to compare plans and look at savings options:
- Find plans at Medicare.gov and do side-by-side comparisons of costs and coverage.
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.
- Access personalized health insurance counseling at no cost, available from State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit shiptacenter.org or call 1-800-MEDICARE for each SHIP’s phone number. Many SHIPs also offer virtual counseling.
- Check eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs. People with Medicare facing challenges paying for health care may qualify for Medicare Saving Programs run by their state. These programs can help save money on premiums, prescription drugs, and other health care costs. If your income for 2021 is below $18,000, it may be worth contacting your state’s Medicaid program about help that may be available to you. Contact 1-800-MEDICARE to find out where to apply.
- For more information, visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra while speaking about the enrollment period said that: it is time for the 63 million Medicare beneficiaries across the United States to get maximum benefits by comparing the coverage options. Consumers can make sure that they get the best benefits available and the highest quality medical care at a low and affordable cost. While expressing the government’s commitment to ensure health accessibility to the maximum citizens. He said that the: federal authorities will continue to make every possible effort to strengthen and build upon this critical program. Which has improved the lives of US natives on a large scale. He also encouraged them to take stock of their health and choose the best plan in 2022.
In addition to this, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure while shedding light on the importance of this time period said that: individuals must take full advantage of this time period, review their options and make wise decisions about their health care coverage. That best meets their needs. She further added that it is the best time for the Medicare beneficiaries to check their eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs. Which can help with premiums and other costs. Meanwhile, assistance for enrollment is available in the communities and 24/7 at 1-800-MEDICARE.
As there are possibilities of changes in the Medicare plans on a yearly basis_even an enrollee’s current calendar year 2021 plan may have changed for 2022. However, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is a golden time for people to compare coverage options and shop for plans according to their needs. The deep and effective comparison of plan coverage, costs, and quality ratings help consumers to see the major difference between plans.
Most People Don’t Review Their Medicare Coverage Options
Did you know that during Medicare’s Open Enrollment, the majority of the people don’t benefit from this option and show reluctance in reviewing the changes in the healthcare coverage plans? Surprised? Yes, it is true. According to the KFF analysis, 7 in 10 beneficiaries have acknowledged that they didn’t compare their plans during the recent enrollment season. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of people made comparisons of their Medicare plans. The statistics are quite shocking. Therefore, the concerned authorities have urged the people to change the trend and drive maximum health benefits from this opportunity.
Want to always stay updated about the latest happenings in the healthcare industry? Then keep visiting Medical Billing Benefits. It’s a live newswire that doesn’t let its readers miss on even a single piece of information i.e. medical billing, coding, payers policies and their federal laws.