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Medicare Open Enrollment: Help from Online Resources

Plans change, lives change. Whether you’re already on Medicare or have just become eligible, taking a look at what’s available for 2017 during open enrollment, which runs through December 7 2016. Paying attention to which providers, services and drugs each plan covers can save you money and/or switching doctor or medication. It might even open up new healthcare possibilities.

What You Can Do During Open Enrollment

Need some basic Medicare information on Medicare plan types and what they mean? MedicareInteractive.org is a well designed website that makes it easy to get answers to your questions about the various types of plan and what they cover.

During open enrollment, you can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
  • Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan if you didn’t do so when you were first eligible (a late enrollment penalty may apply).

Reliable Sources of 2017 Plan Information

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have on- and offline resources
  • Go online: One of the best resources for comparing plans is Medicare.gov’s Medicare Plan Finder. It lets you review and compare 2017 health and drug plan cost information, and helps guide your choice based on your specifics. Scroll down this page for a video tutorial on how to use the Plan Finder. You can also get a counselor’s help in using the plan finder and ask questions by contacting your State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP. Click here to find your local SHIP.
  • Use social media: Join the Medicare Facebook group,  a community for people who are onMedicare. You can also tweet questions to @MedicareGov.
  • Call: Try Medicare’s 24/7 customer service at 1-800-MEDICARE
  • Use snail mail: Ask for a hard copy of the Medicare & You handbook to be mailed to you
Information is available for your state

Check your State Health Insurance Assistance Program website for information. You can also get detailed information about Medicare in your state, including a link to your state’s marketplace, at MedicareResources.org. Or go straight to your state’s Health Insurance Assistance Program by clicking here.

Medicare Advantage plan star ratings may be worth checking out

The Affordable Health Care act introduced star ratings for plans based on a number of quality measures. While there’s disagreement on how accurate these are, you may want to try the tool at US News & World Report that helps you find the best highly rated Medicare Advantage plans in your state. Access the tool by clicking here.

Changes in your circumstances? Help may be available.

Various resources are available that can help you pay for healthcare premiums and costs if your income meets guidelines. Medicare Interactive has updated information on these options. Click here to see what’s available at MedicareInteractive.org.

How to Use the Medicare Plan Finder

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