By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
My copy of “Medicare & You 2017”, the official U.S. government Medicare handbook for the coming year, arrived in my mailbox over the weekend.
Here are some important points to keep in mind if you or a family member is on Medicare:
- This year, the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare health and prescription drug plans runs from October 15 through December 7.
- The annual Open Enrollment Period may be the only time that you can make a change to your Medicare health and prescription drug coverages.
- Individuals covered by Medicare are strongly advised to review their health and drug plans each year during the Open Enrollment Period. Be sure to verify that your current plans will still be available in 2017 and that they will continue to best meet your needs. Check to see what changes are being made to costs, deductibles, coverages and providers in your network. Compare your plans with other options. There may be plans that better fit your needs, and you may be able to save money.
- If your plans will still be available, and you are satisfied that they will still meet your needs in 2017, you do not need to do anything.
- If you decide to change your health and/or prescription drug plans, the new costs and benefits will take effect as of January 1, 2017.
If you would like more information about Medicare or if you have specific questions, you can visit the official Medicare website or call 1-800-252-8966 toll-free. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
To compare plan coverages, benefits and estimated costs, you can visit www.Medicare.gov/find-a-plan.
To get personalized counseling about coverages, you can contact the State Health Insurance Program, SHIP, in your state. For contact information, visit www.shiptacenter.org.