It’s Medicare season once again, but the opening and closing dates are much earlier this year, and seniors who don’t know about it may find themselves with a serious and expensive problem.
The open enrollment period is from October 15 to December 7 – an entire MONTH earlier.
According to a recent survey in Florida and reported through the Kaiser Health News, nearly two-thirds of seniors are unaware that Medicare enrollment is earlier this year. So, why the change? The Affordable Care Act.
Along with the accelerated enrollment period, it is hoped that beneficiaries will have their Medicare cards by the start of the New Year. Customarily, late enrollees find themselves in a tough spot - i.e., without their Medicare cards come January 1.
While the start date this year is non-memorable (October 15), the deadline is one that most Americans of Medicare eligibility age know very well - December 7, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Of course, the enrollment period isn’t the only change come from Medicare. Like last Medicare season, the sheer number of plans has been pared down in an effort to make selection easier.
Planning pointer: Review your anticipated medical needs (or those of your senior loved ones) to determine whether a change in plan is warranted well in advance of the deadline date. Consider making the pre-Thanksgiving season your time to tackle this issue.
You save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars. Many seniors tend to keep things as is, and don’t make plan changes out of habit. Accordingly, some diligent and gentle prodding may be in order.