Skip to main content

Sponsored Content

Make Medicare Open Enrollment a Healthy Habit

Nov 15, 2016 02:33AM ● Published by Family Features

Routines help keep us focused, organized and healthy. However, if your health care routine doesn’t include preparing for Medicare’s Open Enrollment, now’s the time to kick-start a new healthy habit.

If you have a Medicare health or prescription drug plan, Open Enrollment runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. During this time, you can make changes to your plan which will take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, you might find something that’s a better fit for your budget or health needs. If you miss the Open Enrollment deadline, you’ll most likely have to wait a full year before you can make changes to your plan.

Here are five important things every Medicare beneficiary can do to get into the Medicare Open Enrollment routine each year:

1. Review your plan notice. Be sure to read any notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year, especially your “Annual Notice of Change” letter. Look at your plan’s information to make sure your drugs are still covered and your doctors are still in network.

2. Think about what matters most to you. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs. Do you need a new primary care doctor? Does your network include the specialist you want for an upcoming surgery? Is your new medication covered by your current plan? Does another plan offer the same value at a lower cost? Take stock of your health status and determine if you need to make a change.

3. Find out if you qualify for help paying for your Medicare. Learn about programs in your state to help with the costs of Medicare premiums, your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) deductibles, coinsurance and copayments, and Medicare prescription drug coverage costs. You can do this by visiting Medicare.gov or making an appointment with a local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor.

4. Shop for plans that meet your needs and fit your budget. Starting each October, you can use Medicare’s plan finder tool at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan to see what plans are offered in your area. A new plan may:

  • Cost less
  • Cover your drugs
  • Let you go to the providers you want, like your doctor or pharmacy

If you find your current coverage still meets your needs, then you’re done. Remember, during Medicare Open Enrollment, you can decide to stay in Original Medicare or join a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you’re already in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch back to Original Medicare.

5. Check your plan’s Star Rating before you enroll. The Medicare Plan Finder is up-to-date with the Star Ratings for Medicare health and prescription drug plans. Plans are given an overall quality rating on a one to five star scale, with one star representing poor performance and five stars representing excellent performance. Star Ratings can be used to compare the quality of health and drug plans being offered.

For more information, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and say “Agent.” TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends. If you need help in a language other than English or Spanish, let the customer service representative know the language. You can also visit a local SHIP counselor, who can provide free, one-on-one, non-biased Medicare assistance. Find one at medicare.gov/contacts/. Additional information about Medicare is available on the Medicare Facebook page and by following @MedicareGov on Twitter.

Medicare 101: The Basics
If you are new to Medicare, here are some program basics:

Medicare is a health insurance program for:

  • people age 65 or older
  • people under age 65 with certain disabilities
  • people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

What are the different parts of Medicare?

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance):

  • Inpatient care in hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance):
Services from doctors and other health care providers

  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Many preventive services

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage):

  • Includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B
  • Usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) as part of the plan
  • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare
  • May include extra benefits and services for an extra cost

Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage):

  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
  • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare
  • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by The Department of Health and Human Services

Family Features Family Features Lifestyle
  • Christmas Light Spectacular

    11/22/2017
    12:00AM

    We're going all out this year on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbo...


  • Illumination

    11/22/2017
    04:30PM — 08:30PM

    Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a winterti...


  • Christmas Light Spectacular

    11/23/2017
    12:00AM

    We're going all out this year on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbo...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    11/23/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Thanksgiving Buffet

    11/23/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Save the date for our Thanksgiving Day Buffet Thursday, November 23rd 11am-3pm! Give thanks fo...


  • Community Thanksgiving Feast

    11/23/2017
    11:30AM — 02:00PM

    Lazarus House invites you to join its staff, guests, and many supporters at our annual Thanksgivi...


  • Little Naturalists

    11/23/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • Illumination

    11/23/2017
    04:30PM — 08:30PM

    Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a winterti...


  • Aromatherapy Blending Workshop

    11/23/2017
    07:00PM — 07:45PM

    Come join us at Pheasant Run Resort Spa for our Aroma Blending Workshop! Blend your own Mist, Oil...


  • Thanksgiving Worship

    11/23/2017
    07:15PM — 08:15PM

    Begin your Thanksgiving celebration in worship, either Wed. evening at 7:15 PM or Thu. morning at...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    11/23/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Christmas Light Spectacular

    11/24/2017
    12:00AM

    We're going all out this year on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbo...


  • Moms Connect

    11/24/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    11/24/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Illumination

    11/24/2017
    04:30PM — 08:30PM

    Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a winterti...


  • Keeping perspective in today’s world is a challenge, to say the least! Occasionally, it is good t...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    11/24/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    11/24/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • Christmas Light Spectacular

    11/25/2017
    12:00AM

    We're going all out this year on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbo...


  • Low Cost Pet Vaccine Clinic in Lisle

    11/25/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Every Saturday from 9:00AM-1:00PM the Pet Well Clinic in Lisle offers affordable vaccines, microc...


  • Winter Vendorland

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Come out and support small businesses while getting your holiday shopping done under one roof! Th...


  • Illumination

    11/25/2017
    04:30PM — 08:30PM

    Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a winterti...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    11/25/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Music

    11/25/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    11/25/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Christmas Light Spectacular

    11/26/2017
    12:00AM

    We're going all out this year on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbo...


  • Bourbon Street Brunch

    11/26/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Join us on historic Boubon Street every Sunday for a unique brunch buffet! Enjoy all your favorit...


  • The Fox Valley Nutcraker

    11/26/2017
    02:00PM

    Fox Valley Ballet is proud to present The Fox Valley Nutcracker, a Fox Valley holiday tradition t...


  • Tony Award-winning choreographer and tap dancer Savion Glover (Broadway’s “Bring in ’Da Noise, Br...


  • Illumination

    11/26/2017
    04:30PM — 08:30PM

    Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a winterti...


  • Christmas Light Spectacular

    11/28/2017
    12:00AM

    We're going all out this year on decorations thanks to our friends at iPANiC Escape Rooms. Bourbo...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    11/28/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Illumination

    11/28/2017
    04:30PM — 08:30PM

    Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a winterti...


  • Westminster Freshman Preview Night

    11/28/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Westminster Freshman Preview Night is for 2018-19 grade 9 students and their parents. Come and e...


Neighbors Magazines
Neighbors Magazines, 28 South Water Street, Batavia, IL 60510, 630-995-3482, www.welcometoneighbors.com
Contact us