Every year, people with Medicare get to explore new choices and pick the health and drug plans that work best for them. This year, the Open Enrollment period is starting earlier – on October 15 – and ending sooner – December 7. This gives people with Medicare a full seven weeks to compare and make decisions, and ensures that they will have essential plan materials and membership cards in hand on January 1, 2012 when new coverage starts.
There will be a wide range of health and drug plan options available across the country, including Original Medicare. Most people with Medicare can choose a “Part D” plan to help them pay for prescription drugs. And people who have chosen to enroll in a “Part C” Medicare Advantage plan for their basic health care services have the option of staying in that plan, choosing a different plan, or going back to the Original Medicare program. Plans can change from year to year, so these are important choices that should be made with care. People can turn to www.medicare.gov, call 1-800-MEDICARE, or consult with me by appointment by calling 515.285.6766.