Make Medi­care changes now

The Colonial - - OPINION -

Medi­care and sup­ple­men­tal health cov­er­age pro­vide a safety net for those age 65 and up, but in­sur­ance cov­er­age, at best, can be con­fus­ing.

For the nearly 117,000 Mont­gomery County res­i­dents who are 65 years or older now is the time to think about hHaOWh FarH FRYHragH, as OFW. 15 was WhH firsW Gay anG DHF. 7 the last day those with Medi­care can make changes to their health in­sur­ance plans.

Fol­low­ing are tips from one in­sur­ance car­rier for those us­ing Medi­care.

•EYHn LI yRu’rH haSSy wLWh yRur Fur­rHnW FRYHragH, LW GRHsn’W hurW WR FRmSarH SOans. 0RsW SOans maNH FhangHs HYHry yHar, sR LW’s wRrWh FhHFNLng HYHn LI yRu FarHIuOOy FRn­sid­ered plans last year. If you still like what you have, do nRWhLng anG yRu’OO auWR­maWLFaOOy bH rH-Hn­rROOHG Ln yRur Fur­rent plan.

•OrLgL­naO 0HGLFarH (ParWs A anG B) GRHsn’W FRYHr HYHry­thing. Take a look at your reg­u­lar monthly health care ex­penses and de­cide what plan cov­ers what you need at the bHsW FRsW. OrLgL­naO 0HGLFarH GRHsn’W FRYHr HYHryWhLng anG has no lim­its on out-of-pocket ex­penses.

•0HGLFarH AGYanWagH SOans SrRYLGH aGGLWLR­naO bHnH­fiWs. 0HGLFarH AGYanWagH SOans (ParW C) arH anRWhHr RSWLRn WR orig­i­nal Medi­care. They pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive cov­er­age with fewer out-of-pocket costs than orig­i­nal Medi­care anG RIWHn LnFOuGH FRYHragH IRr SrHsFrLSWLRn Grugs (ParW D). 0HGLFarH AGYanWagH SOans aOsR RIIHr aGGLWLR­naO bHnH­fiWs, such as hear­ing, den­tal, vi­sion ser­vices, help manag­ing chronic con­di­tions such as di­a­betes, and ad­di­tional sup­port af­ter a hos­pi­tal­iza­tion.

•ChHFN WhaW yRur nHWwRrN LnFOuGHs GRFWRrs anG hRsSLWaOs yRu wLOO nHHG. YRur hHaOWh nHHGs Fan FhangH, sR LW’s bHsW WR think ahead to be sure you have easy ac­cess to qual­ity health care ser­vices.

•0aNH surH yRur SOan FRYHrs WhH mHGLFaWLRns yRu WaNH. ,I yRu’rH buyLng a 0HGLFarH PrHsFrLSWLRn (ParW D) SOan, FhHFN LI WhHrH’s FRYHragH IRr yRur Grugs Ln WhH “GRnuW hROH.” 7hLs is where you are re­spon­si­ble for a cer­tain per­cent­age of charges af­ter reach­ing your pre­scrip­tion cov­er­age limit and be­fore you reach the yearly out-of-pocket max­i­mum spend­ing limit.

•,I SRssLbOH, GRn’W waLW unWLO WhH OasW mLnuWH WR Hn­rROO. 7hH ex­tra time helps your in­sur­ance com­pany ver­ify your el­i­gi­bil­ity, get you prop­erly set up in their sys­tem, or­der your ,D FarG, anG Hn­surH a smRRWh Wran­sLWLRn IrRm 2012 WR 2013.

•,W’s O. WR FhangH yRur mLnG. FrRm -an. 1 WR FHb. 14, 0HGLFarH bHnH­fiFLarLHs Fan FanFHO WhHLr 0HGLFarH AGYan­tage plan and sign up for a Medi­care Sup­ple­ment, or re­turn to orig­i­nal Medi­care.

:hHrH WR gR IRr hHOS. A OLFHn­sHG brRNHr Fan SrRYLGH yRu with all the in­for­ma­tion you need to make an in­formed deFLsLRn anG HYHn FRmH WR yRur hRmH WR HGuFaWH yRu. AOsR, many health plans of­fer community meet­ings about MediFarH. ChHFN wLWh an Ln­surHr nRw WR finG RuW.

7hH RI­fiFLaO U.6. gRYHrn­mHnW sLWH IRr 0HGLFarH, whLFh Ln­cludes in­for­ma­tion on re­lated sup­ple­men­tal health plans is at www.medi­care.gov.

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