Belleville, IL (Vocus) September 9, 2010
Healthcare legislation passed earlier this year may make the upcoming Medicare annual enrollment season particularly challenging, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services.
“Choosing a Medicare plan for the first time or re-evaluating your coverage based on your changing needs can be overwhelming in any year,” said Adrienne Muralidharan, senior Medicare specialist for the Allsup Medicare Advisor®, a Medicare plan selection service for people with disabilities and those over 65. “However, this year there are not only the usual changes, such as higher premiums or plan details, you also need to understand how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may affect your 2011 Medicare coverage.”
The timing is right, Muralidharan added, for the first baby boomers turning 65 early next year to begin educating themselves on their Medicare options before annual enrollment gets under way.
Annual enrollment runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 allowing people to select their Medicare coverage for 2011.
“The annual enrollment period is a narrow window, and people have so much marketing information sent to them during the weeks prior that it can be hard to focus,” Muralidharan said. “Taking time ahead of this to assess your needs and the type of coverage you want will allow you to be better prepared when you evaluate your options.”
Healthcare Reform Provisions Affecting Medicare in 2011
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act makes changes across healthcare. These changes include several provisions specific to Medicare:
In addition, the law reduces the Medicare Part D (prescription drug) premium subsidy for individuals with incomes above $85,000 and couples with incomes above $170,000.
Additionally, under the new healthcare legislation, changes are being made to Medicare Advantage plans starting in 2011 to enhance quality and ensure they compete more equally with traditional Medicare.
“It’s easy to get confused between Medicare annual enrollment and open enrollment,” Muralidharan said. “However, it’s now more important than ever to look at annual enrollment as your main opportunity to choose your coverage.”
Other Changes to Come
Each year, Medicare premium costs may increase and plan details may change. For Medicare Part B, the premium cost for most people is tied to the Social Security COLA, determined in October for the following year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Medicare, has said that premiums for Part D plans are expected to increase by about $1 on average to $30 for 2011, and more detail on both Part D and Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) premiums and plans will be available in the coming weeks.
For an evaluation of your Medicare options, please call an Allsup Medicare Advisor specialist at (888) 271-1173 or go to http://www.allsup.com/medicare-advisor.aspx.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs nearly 700 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit http://www.Allsup.com.
The information provided is not intended as a substitute for legal or other professional services. Legal or other expert assistance should be sought before making any decision that may affect your situation.
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