Dr. Boozman's Check-up

If you’ve been looking to make a change to your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan, now is the time to do it.

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period, currently underway, got off to a much earlier start this year.

Open Enrollment is the one time of the year when Medicare recipients can switch plans and make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D.

The Open Enrollment Period will continue through December 7, 2011.  Any changes you opt to make to your coverage during this period will begin January 1, 2012.

To get started, just review which plan will meet your needs for next year by using the Medicare Plan Finder. You can also find a listing of plans in your area by checking your most recent “Medicare & You” handbook or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), where help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.  Medicare can also help you enroll online, in person, at an event in your community, or via phone.

Trying to find affordable health care coverage can be exhausting.  If you have limited income you may qualify for the “Extra Help” program to pay your prescription drug costs.

Once you choose a plan, there are several options as to how to start your coverage. 

These options include:

•             Enroll on the plan’s Web site or on Medicare’s site

•             Complete a paper application

•             Call the plan’s administrator

•             Call 1-800-MEDICARE

Remember, these change will take effect on January 1, 2012 only if your request is submitted by December 7, 2011.

If you opt to change your coverage after the Open Enrollment period, you may be forced to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Learn about Medicare enrollment periods here.