Medicare Open Enrollment Period is Now Open

Medicare Open Enrollment began yesterday and will last until December 7, 2013. During this six-week period, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to make any changes to their plan that will take effect on January 1st, 2014.

View a CMS video about Medicare Open Enrollment.

Below are a few things you should do to prepare and educate yourself on the changes you may or may not need to make to your Medicare plan (or Medicare Advantage Plan) this year.

  • Call your doctor and schedule some of the preventative, no-cost health screenings and tests that are available for Medicare beneficiaries;
  • Take an inventory of your current prescription regimen and decide if your coverage is sufficient for the medicines you need;
  • Review plans and policies that are available in your area and decide if changing plans will save you money and better meet your needs. The average premium for a basic prescription drug plan in 2014 is projected to remain stable, at an estimated $31/month.

If you decide to stay with your current plan there is no further action required to renew it. Remember that if you don’t use this window of opportunity, you cannot make any changes to your coverage before October of next year.

Keep in mind that Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance Marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare), so you don’t have to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage. No matter how you get Medicare, you’ll still have the same benefits and security you have now. You won’t have to make any changes.

It is important to understand that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. At most, Medicare covers 100 days of short-term rehabilitation that may take place in a skilled nursing facility. Read our recent blog post “Is Medicare Enough to Cover Mom’s Nursing Home Stay? ” for more details.

Just as you are planning for the Open Enrollment Period, you should plan for your future and for your loved ones. If you have a loved one who is nearing the need for nursing home care, call The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Estate Planning and Asset Protection Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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