by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
With housework, doctor appointments, time with family, and job responsibilities, there are always tasks that get left until the last minute. But whether I’m choosing an insurance plan or planning a vacation, I still want to make sure my “I”s are dotted and my “T”s crossed. I want to know that everything’s taken care of – without worry and confusion.
Speaking of insurance, time is running out! If you’ve been thinking about changing your Medicare coverage, the time to act is now. The dates for Medicare Open Enrollment are early this year to allow for a smoother transition to a new plan. Not only did Open Enrollment start earlier, but it also ends earlier - the last day for you to change your Medicare plan is now December 7. This gives Medicare enough time to process any change you may make and have you linked correctly to the plan you choose as soon as your coverage starts. That way you can go to the doctor or your pharmacy on January 1 without having to worry about your coverage.
If you’re like me, you might use the December holidays to discuss health care options with family or friends. I use the time to talk to my father, who is on Medicare. This year, because Medicare Open Enrollment ends early, the time to have that important conversation is now.
This year, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you have better choices, more benefits and lower costs, and it’s worth it to review them. Our counselors worked with a man in Oregon who has saved more than $600 a month on his prescription drugs between benefits from the health care law and lowering his doses. $600 a month makes a huge difference in helping him pay other bills, and still put some money into savings.
I know that sorting through your health and drug coverage choices during Open Enrollment can be confusing but you don’t have to do it alone.
Look around for all the Medicare information out there. We have plenty of resources to help you think about cost, coverage, extra benefits, and convenience when evaluating your plan choices. And visit our Open Enrollment center, where we’ve gathered everything you need online, including a video on how the Medicare Plan Finder works, to walk through your options.
Medicare’s here to help you, stronger than ever. Take the time this week to review and compare plans. It’s worth it - you can relax later.