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Medicare Q&A

Question: I heard that I should review my Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment and I have until December 7 to make changes. Does that apply to me if I get my insurance through my former employer or a union?

Answer: Retirees who receive health insurance or a supplement from their former employer or union may not have the same open enrollment timeframe as people with Original Medicare or individually purchased Medicare Advantage or Prescription Part D Plans. Their "annual open enrollment" period is the time period established by their former employer or union. It is probably not the same as Medicare’s Open Enrollment period.

This is very confusing if their timeframe occurs within the Medicare Open Enrollment period.  Many people have ignored an October mailing from their former employer or union, thinking they have until December 7 to act, only to find later that they needed to make changes much sooner.

I advise everyone with insurance from a former employer or union to open and read all mail regarding their insurance right away. Pay particular attention to the dates by which you need to respond. Don’t sign up for Medicare C, D or a Medicare Supplement without consulting your former employer or union insurance administrator. Signing up individually may end your retiree insurance and make it extremely difficult to get back if you make the wrong choice.
If however, you find that your employer or union provided plan no longer suits your needs, it may be time to look into other plans with better coverage.

Question:  My mailbox is stuffed with all kinds of Medicare information. What should I be looking for?

Answer:  You’re receiving all this information because Medicare’s Open Enrollment begins on October 15. Open Enrollment is the time of the year when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage, including adding, dropping or changing your Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage.

If you have Original Medicare, you should begin by reviewing your current Medicare coverage with a trusted insurance professional, comparing it with other Medicare options, including Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug coverage. At Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC, we routinely provide these comparisons for our customers.
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, the most important information that you’ll receive in the mail is the Annual Notice of Change sent by your insurance provider. The Annual Notice of Change provides information on changes you will see in your insurance coverage, cost and services in the coming year.

Some key areas to review are:

Changes in benefits and cost: Do the changes affect the services you use? Has the amount of your co-pay changed? Have the premiums or out-of-pocket costs changed? 

Part D Prescription Drug Plan:  Are your prescription medications covered? Are they in a different tier? Can you continue to use the same pharmacies? Has the premium, deductible or tier costs changed?

Providers Network: Are your doctors, hospitals and other health care providers still in the network?

If changes are being made that do not suit your needs, it may be time to switch to a new plan with better coverage. Call Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC to set up a Medicare health insurance review before open enrollment ends on December 7, 2014. We are conveniently located in Mentor at 6966 Spinach Drive. Call at 440-255-5700 or email today.

Article provided by Laura Mutsko. Laura is a licensed insurance broker offering a full line of health and life insurance products, including Individual, Group and Family Health, Annuities, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Plans, Medicare Part D Prescription Coverage, Vision, Dental and Life Insurance. Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC is located at 6966 Spinach Drive in Mentor, Ohio. Laura can be reached at 440-255-5700 or through email here. For more information, visit her website at or click here to view her Senior Citizen's Guide online profile.


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