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Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace

vpasheader0311There has been a lot in the news about the Health Insurance Marketplace, which will begin enrolling individuals in health insurance plans beginning October 1. For those who are already Medicare beneficiaries, several questions arise. This is important information for everyone who is currently receiving their health insurance through Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage Plans.

How will the Health Insurance Marketplace that starts in 2014 affect my Medicare coverage?

The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed to help people who do not have health insurance. You have health insurance through Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan. The Marketplace will NOT have any effect on your Medicare coverage.

Your Medicare benefits are NOT changing. You will still have the same benefits and security you have now, and you will not have to make any changes.

Do I need to do anything with Marketplace plans during Open Enrollment for Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (October 15 – December 7)?

Medicare’s Open Enrollment isn’t part of the new Health Insurance Marketplace. It is illegal for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a Marketplace plan.

Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15 – December 7) is the time when all people with Medicare are encouraged to review their current prescription drug coverage and Medicare Advantage Plan coverage, including any changes in costs, coverage and benefits that will take effect next year. If you want to change your coverage for next year, or if you want to be sure that your current plan will still be the best for you, this is the time to do it.

 

The Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period overlaps with the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, so people with Medicare who are looking at coverage changes should make sure they are reviewing MEDICARE plans and not MARKETPLACE options.

What should I do if I’m contacted about signing up for a health plan?

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is a time when there is a higher risk for fraudulent activities, so be sure you understand what you are reviewing and that you are dealing with reputable individuals and companies.

It is against the law for someone who knows you have Medicare to sell you a Marketplace plan.

Do NOT share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who knocks on your door or calls on the phone unless you have asked them to contact you in advance.

Do NOT sign an agreement to enroll in any kind of health plan at the time it is being explained to you. Take a day or two to re-read the contract to be sure that you understand what you are buying, how much it will cost, and what your benefits will be.

If you have any question about whether a plan, company or salesperson is legitimate, do not sign or agree verbally with anything. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227), visit StopMedicareFraud.gov on the internet, or call Maury River Senior Center at 261-7474.

At MRSC, trained, impartial, and state-certified Medicare insurance counselors can help you determine legitimate plans, give you the information you need to make the choice of prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan that is best for you, and report incidents of actual or suspected fraud to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

More online at www.MauryRiverSeniorCenter.org.

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