The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is an excellent time to review and discuss Medicare options for next year.
Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period ends on Saturday, Dec. 7. For most people enrolled in Medicare, this time is their only opportunity to make choices and changes in their health and prescription coverage for 2014.
Thanksgiving gatherings, with family, friends or at a community dinner, provide the chance to ask others for ideas and assistance in reviewing the changes in your current coverage and in looking at other options.
“Every plan, including original Medicare, is making changes for 2013,” said Shelley Matson, Elder Benefit Specialist for Vernon County. Materials about the each plan’s changes were sent to enrollees in early October.
“If someone isn’t sure what their plan is changing, they should contact their plan as soon as possible,” continued Matson. “Then they can use this information to make decisions about whether their current plan, or a different plan, would best suit their needs for 2014.”
Medicare staff are available to answer questions and process enrollments by telephone 24 hours every day, except for holidays, at 1-800-633-4227. Because Medicare’s phone lines can be busy during the Open Enrollment season, it may be easier to call them during a non-traditional time, such as early morning, evenings, and weekends.
Medicare’s website – www.medicare.gov – is also always available to get information, compare options, and even enroll. “While not everyone is comfortable using the internet, most young people are quite familiar with this technology,” explained Matson. “And the grandkids may enjoy showing off their skills by helping their grandparents use the Medicare website.”
Assistance in reviewing health and drug plans is also available at your local Aging & Disability Resource Center. The phone number for the regional office serving Vernon, LaCrosse, Monroe and Jackson counties is 1-800-500-3910. The local phone number for Vernon County is 608-637-5397 to schedule an appointment in one of the few remaining slots before the Dec. 7 deadline.