Medicare open enrollment is currently underway, providing individuals enrolled in the program an opportunity to review and modify their current prescription drug and health care plan options, according to Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua), who urged recipients to take advantage of open enrollment before it closes on December 7, 2011.
“Medicare is a lifeline to affordable, quality health care coverage for nearly three million New Yorkers, especially our senior citizens. Medicare recipients should take advantage of open enrollment to review their current health care coverage, as well as explore all the new services, benefits and cost savings available to enrollees. Open enrollment provides lower costs and better coverage but folks have to act before December 7 when the window closes,” Leader Kolb said.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, individuals under 65 with certain disabilities and persons of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, over three million New Yorkers were enrolled in the Medicare program for 2011.
Medicare’s open enrollment began October 15 and lasts seven weeks, ending on December 7. During this time, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities can compare and find the best health care plan that meets their personalized medical needs. Some of the benefits Medicare enrollees will be able to take advantage of during open enrollment include less expensive prescription medicines, free preventive services and overall lower health care costs.
During open enrollment, Medicare recipients are encouraged to utilize free informational resources to learn more about available programs, services and benefits that can help them save money and access quality care. The informational resources include the following:
- Visit Medicare’s website – www.medicare.gov – for a personalized comparison of costs and coverage of various plans available in a recipient’s area;
- Call Medicare toll-free – 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) – for assistance learning about coverage options (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048);
- Read the 2012 Medicare & You Handbook, available online at: www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf. This helpful publication also has been mailed to the homes of Medicare recipients; and
- Receive personal counseling help from the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Details can be found at www.medicare.gov/contacts/organization-search-criteria.aspx, on the back of the 2011 Medicare & You handbook, or by calling Medicare toll-free.
“Faced with continually rising health care costs, people on Medicare – especially millions of senior citizens – deserve the opportunity to make informed decisions about their health care coverage, learn more about how they can save on prescription drugs and receive free preventative care. This is exactly what is possible during Medicare open enrollment, a perfect time to get the facts about Medicare and coverage options. I urge individuals on Medicare and their loved ones to set aside some time and learn more about everything Medicare open enrollment has to offer before it closes on December 7,” Leader Kolb concluded.