10/15/2013 10:14:43 AM
For Immediate Release
SAINT PAUL, MN Every year on October 15, Medicare Open Enrollment starts providing an opportunity for Minnesota seniors to evaluate coverage options. The Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds seniors that insurance policies can change and it is important to review any notices regarding changes from their insurance companies and use open enrollment to find health insurance coverage that fits their budget and health needs.
Open Enrollment is the only time of year when everyone on Medicare can make changes to their coverage for the upcoming year, said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. I urge seniors to review their coverage options. Simply switching to a lower cost Medicare Supplement plan can save a lot of money.
To join in a new plan, seniors can either enroll through Medicare or by calling the new plan. Seniors do not need to do anything if they elect not to make any changes for the next coverage year.
Open Enrollment begins on October 15 and ends on December 7, 2013. New coverage will begin on January 1, 2014.
To help Minnesota seniors make informed decisions regarding their Medicare options, the Commerce Department has the following tips and reminders for Medicare Open Enrollment:
MNsure, the new Health Insurance Marketplace
MNsure is for people who do not have health insurance already through a job or government program, like Medicare. This will not change any of the benefits or coverage for seniors on Medicare. The enrollment periods for MNsure and Medicare do overlap, so consumers should make certain that the health coverage options are Medicare plans and not through MNsure.
Be on the Lookout for Fraud and Scams
Seniors need to know that it is illegal to sell seniors a plan through MNsure if the agent or broker knows that their client currently has a Medicare plan. Since the enrollment periods overlap, this may invite more fraudulent activity by suggesting unsuitable products to consumers and seniors need to be aware of their rights.
Seniors need to protect themselves from fraud. Education and getting good help, are the best defenses against being a victim - remember that your insurance agent or broker cannot imply that they are endorsed by Medicare, solicit door-to-door, contact you by phone or email (unless the consumer initiated the call), or attempt to sell non-health related products such as life insurance or annuities during educational open houses.
Selecting a Medicare Part D Plan
Medicare Part D is supplemental coverage offered by private insurance companies that helps pay for prescription costs. Shop around to see which plan is likely to save the most money. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.
Shop around for your Medigap Policy
Medicare Supplement Insurance policies obtained through private insurance companies (also called Medigap) offer coverage and services that are not provided by Original Medicare and premiums can vary widely from company to company - be sure to compare plans and policies.
Questions about Medicare Open Enrollment?
Visit the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
Call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433 to select or enroll in a plan
Open Enrollment for Medicare: October 15 through December 7, 2013. For information on special enrollment periods, go to the Medicare Website for Special Enrollment Periods.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help. Seniors can visit the Commerce Department s Medicare Toolkit for more information about Medicare Open Enrollment, insurance FAQs, and tips for spotting and preventing fraud. Consumers should call the Department s Consumer Response Team at 651-539-1600 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3602 (in Greater Minnesota) if you have any questions or concerns about your insurance agent or if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or fraud.