In preparation for the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment, beginning on October 15th, Mary Policky, Vice President in the Benefits Department at Momentous, conducted a course and webinar for our clients regarding the various components of Medicare, and how to prepare for the important enrollment timelines associated with Medicare.
Often, there is a misconception that Medicare isn’t as good as employer-sponsored insurance because it has a very limited list of providers, and doesn’t cover as many expenses. “This simply isn’t true,” said Policky, “and this myth can cause Medicare-eligible beneficiaries to miss some very important deadlines, resulting in long term financial implications.” She went on to explain that Original Medicare, which is Medicare parts A and B, has no networks of providers, and is widely accepted by a vast majority of doctors and facilities throughout the United States. Also, with recent changes in healthcare reform, Original Medicare now covers a much longer list of preventative care services. “It’s extremely important that brokers and/or financial advisors do a cost analysis and benefits comparison to help their client determine the best option, based on her insurance needs.”
Ms. Policky also explained the various dates of the enrollment timeline, and each of the potential penalties for failing to adhere to the timeline accordingly. For example, failure to enroll in Medicare Part B upon initial eligibility could result in a penalty of 10% of the part B premium per year, if an individual doesn’t have other employer-sponsored or union coverage.
Lastly, she went on to discuss in detail the various sorts of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans, as well as the Part D Coverage Gap, also referred to as the “donut hole,” and how to calculate the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA).
Professionals who attended left equipped with the knowledge to better educate their Medicare eligible clients
This presentation was especially timely, as the fall open enrollment period will begin on October 15 and last through December 7 of 2016. The open enrollment period is the time when persons enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part D plans chose their specific plan for the next year. It is important to know that the coverage for these plans can change from year to year.
Medicare beneficiaries should have received their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan providers by Sept. 30. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will also make information available to the public on www.medicare.gov.
It’s essential to carefully review any information sent to you by your plan provider, since this will go over any potential changes. For example, increasing co-pays, changes to drug formularies or changes to treatment coverage. If you need any assistance, please contact our office. We will help you find the best available plan based on your or your clients’ insurance needs.