May 19, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Season For Medicare Choices:

By Ron Pollack

Families USA Executive Director

As the weather turns cooler, it’s time once again to think about your Medicare choices. Unlike the past several years, there are relatively few changes to Medicare rules for 2013.

But because your individual plan or your circumstances might be changing, you should still take a close look at your coverage options.

There’s also another choice ahead this November: it has to do with the future of Medicare, and health care, for all of us.

The major Medicare changes that were part of the health care law remain in place. Like last year, the annual enrollment period is earlier than it used to be: It will run from October 15 to December 7, so don’t plan to wait until the end of December to make a change.

Prescription drug coverage continues to improve: When people fall into the proverbial doughnut hole, they will continue to receive even better discounts on their prescription drugs than for 2012. Many preventive services are now free for everyone with Medicare.

It’s always a good idea to review the coverage you have.

If you have a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan, you should receive a letter from your plan called an “Annual Notice of Change” that informs you how your plan will be changing next year.

Check to see what’s happening with premiums and copayments. Take a look at coverage for particular drugs or services.

Make sure your doctors, pharmacies, and other providers will still take the plan.

Remember a few key tips:

• If you have original Medicare and a supplemental plan (sometimes called Medigap), you don’t need to change. Be very careful if you do decide to drop your Medigap plan – you may not be able to get it back later. Each state has its own rules about purchasing Medigap plans.

• Don’t believe any high-pressure sales pitches. Do your homework and make an informed decision.

• Get help if you need it. The Medicare.gov website lists all the plans in your area. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE for general information and to enroll in a plan. You can also get a referral for your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Every state has one, and they provide free counseling and advice to everyone with Medicare.

• If you or someone you know has limited income and resources, you may qualify for additional help. Talk to your local SHIP, or go to the Social Security website: www.ssa.gov/prescriptionhelp.

• If you do decide to enroll in a new plan, do it through 1-800-MEDICARE, rather than through the plan itself.

Our nation as a whole will also make a very big choice this November about Medicare and the future of health care.

One path is laid out in the health care law that builds on the existing Medicare system.

It aims to slow down health care costs over time without pushing new costs onto individuals.

The other path was laid out last spring in the House of Representatives’ proposed budget. It would repeal the health care law, including the improvements in Medicare prescription drugs and preventive care coverage.

It would also transform Medicare into something very different than we have today, by giving private insurance companies much greater control over seniors’ health care coverage.

Most experts have concluded this will result in increased out-of-pocket costs for seniors who rely on the program now, and even higher costs for future generations.

Whatever you think of these two paths, we can all agree they are very different. Just as you shouldn’t rely on a sales pitch to make a choice about your Medicare plan for next year, you shouldn’t rely on the rhetoric from either side when you decide how to cast your vote.

Do your research and make up your own mind. Being an informed consumer – and an informed voter – is the best way to protect yourself for next year, and for years to come.

Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. They have advocated for universal, affordable, quality health care since 1982. Ron Pollack is the Executive Director of Families USA.

in News
Related Posts

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...

The price of gasoline in Los Angeles County Has Experienced The Largest Increase Since February

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Gasoline prices in Orange County Have Also Increased By Dolores Quintana Regular self-serve gasoline in the county of Los Angeles...

Santa Monica Travel Summit Of 2022 Returns To Take On Tomorrow

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

The Event Was Held At The Jonathan Club On Santa Monica Beach By Staff Writer The 2022 Santa Monica Tourism...

City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program: Santa Monica Beat – May 16th, 2022

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program * Santa Monica High School Students...

1221 Ocean Avenue Complex Sold For Record Price

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Sold for a record price of $330 million. By Dolores Quintana The Irvine Company has sold 1221 Ocean Avenue to...

Office Construction Is Starting To Rise In Los Angeles

May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022

Property vacancies are still affecting growth.  By Dolores Quintana In March, the Los Angeles Metropolitan area had 3.2 million square...

Santa Monica City Council Selects Doug Sloan as New City Attorney

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

At its meeting this week, the Santa Monica City Council appointed Doug Sloan to serve as Santa Monica’s next City...

Landmark Theater Closing in Former Westside Pavillion

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Theater will close at the end of month By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Pico theater at the former Westside Pavillion...

Community Policing at the Heart of Beat Four

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

The Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) Program thrives through community involvement and collective work. Today we hear from Officer Aaron Alpert...

Santa Monica High School Among Top-900 Schools in Country

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

SAMOHI ranked 829 out of over 18,000 total schools By Staff Writer Santa Monica High School is among the top...

Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space: Santa Monica Beat – May 10th, 2022

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space* Grunion Fish Seen...