Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Medicare Open Enrollment Begins Saturday, October 15
Medicare’s open enrollment season starts this Saturday, October 15, and Consumer Reports has a free guide to help seniors get the most out of changes to the program and new benefits available for Medicare participants.
Free copies of “Medicare: 6 Things You Need to Know Now” are available for download at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/Medicare. The guide is also available in Spanish at www.espanol.ConsumerReports.org/salud.
“With open enrollment just around the corner, now is the time to sit down and figure out how to make your Medicare coverage work for you. And that’s just what this guide will do – help consumers navigate the changes in Medicare and take full advantage of new services available,” said Jim Guest, President of Consumer Reports. “It’s never too early to learn about what Medicare offers. If you have a loved one in the program or are about to be eligible, download a copy to find out about what’s available. With new benefits such as drug discounts and free health screenings available, this guide explains how you can make the most of them.”
The 16-page guide provides easy-to-understand information about changes in Medicare:
–Beginning this year, the open enrollment period for changing Medicare plans is starting and ending earlier, and the guide helps you check the new dates and understand your options.
–If you are about to turn 65, you can find out what you need to know before signing up for Medicare.
–If you have Medicare and struggle with the cost of prescription drugs, the guide explains the sizable drug discounts now available when you reach the gap in Medicare drug plans known as the “doughnut hole.”
–For those who have skipped preventive-care visits to the doctor because they could not afford them, the guide describes the free and low-cost coverage options for certain preventive services, such as annual wellness visits, mammograms and prostate cancer screenings, and flu shots.
–The guide explains the changes in Medicare Advantage plans, such as new limits on your annual out-of-pocket costs.
–If you have relatively high income, the guide takes you through important changes in what you pay.
–The back of the guide offers an in-depth resource section with contact information for key agencies that can answer your specific questions about Medicare, including toll-free numbers for help in every state. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7, 2011. For more information on open enrollment, visit www.medicare.gov.
David Butler or Kara Kelber 202-462-6262; or Michael McCauley 415-431-6747, ext 126