Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from October 15th to December 7th. If you are looking to enroll into or change your Medicare plan, you can do so during this time. The OEP gives you the opportunity to compare plans, and make sure you have health and prescription drug coverage that meets your unique needs. If you are pleased with your current plan, you do not have to do anything.
What You Can Do
- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage
Resources for Medicare Beneficiaries
- To ensure that you have access to the wide range of benefits available through Medicare, my district office will host counselors from APPRISE, Pennsylvania’s free health insurance counseling program, throughout the Open Enrollment period, October 15th through December 7th. Please contact Michelle Espinal, Constituent Services Representative in my Montgomery County office at (215) 517-6572 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
- If you can’t attend one of my counseling sessions, but are still interested in speaking with an Apprise Counselor, click on the following link for a list of events near you: http://pda-apprise.org/meetings/index.php?MeetingType=PRESCRIPTION
- You can also visit www.medicare.gov, where you can get a personalized comparison of costs and coverage of the plans available in your area.
- Or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to find out more about coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
- Lastly, you can review the 2013 Medicare & You handbook. It is also accessible online at: http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf -- and it will be mailed to the homes of people with Medicare.
If you are on Medicare and have limited income you may qualify for Extra Help paying for your prescription drug costs. There is no cost to apply for Extra Help, also called the low-income subsidy. Medicare beneficiaries can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778).
Protecting Against Identity Theft
The Open Enrollment Period is an opportune time for scammers to prey on unsuspecting individuals. Medicare recommends that you:
- Protect your personal information—Guard your Medicare and Social Security Numbers. Treat them like you would treat your credit cards. Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free medical equipment or services and then requests your Medicare number. If it’s free, they don’t need your number! Do not let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare ID card or your identity. It’s illegal, and it’s not worth it! If your Medicare card is lost or stolen, report it right away. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) for a replacement.
- Watch out for these common fraud schemes—People who approach you in parking lots, shopping centers, or other public areas and offer free services, groceries, transportation, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number. Just walk away! People who call you claiming to be conducting a health survey and ask for your Medicare number. Simply hang up the phone! Telephone marketers who pretend to be from Medicare or Social Security and ask for payment over the phone or Internet. Don’t do it! They may want to steal your money.
- Check your medical bills, Medicare Summary Notices, Explanation Of Benefits, and Credit Reports— Were you charged for any medical services or equipment that you didn’t get? Do the dates of services and charges look unfamiliar? Were you billed for the same thing twice? Does your credit report show any unpaid bills for medical services or equipment you didn’t receive? Have you received any collection notices for medical services or equipment you didn’t receive?
- Report Medicare fraud and medical identity theft— If you spot unusual or questionable charges, contact your health care provider. It may just be a mistake. If your complaint is not resolved by your provider, report the questionable charges to Medicare. If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General. If you think someone is misusing your personal information, contact the Federal Trade Commission. For more information about reporting Medicare fraud and ID Theft visit: http://www.medicare.gov/help-and-resources/report-fraud-and-abuse/fraud-and-abuse.html.