110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Nov 29, 2012 - 4:16:50pm
All those folks age 65 and older who are Medicare recipients should check their options for coverage now, during open enrollment. The deadline to change enrollment and coverages ends Friday, Dec. 7.
And, if you're not sure whether to make changes, or if you need help reviewing your needs and coverages, there is help available, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Regional Administrator Renard Murray in the Atlanta office told The Beacon.
He called the insurance review "critical."
While someone may have had the same plan for a long time, health and prescriptions may have changed. A different plan may offer better coverage for particular needs than the one the person now has, so the "35 plus plans" available to Floridians should be compared, Murray said.
Some plans afford prescription-drug coverage at no additional costs. There are low-income subsidies available for people with $16,775 in income or less.
Now, more preventive services are covered through Medicare, which is something clients should check into, as well.
Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling Medicare at 1-800-633-4277, or visiting the website at www.medicare.gov.
Floridians can call the Florida Department of Elder Affairs program called SHINE, which stands for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, for assistance, counseling and education to help with Medicare issues. Services are free and confidential. Call 1-800-963-5337, or visit the website www.floridashine.org.
People who are not yet receiving Medicare benefits should contact their local Social Security Office or enroll through the Website www.medicare.gov or Social Security website at least two months before their 65th birthday, to ensure they receive benefits in a timely manner. It's not necessary to wait for an open enrollment period. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
Medicare Part A, which provides hospital coverage, is available more or less automatically, without charge. Part B provides insurance to cover visits to the doctor's office and other expenses. Part D provides prescription coverage, which people should take unless they have prescription coverage through another source, such as a company benefit.
Don't hesitate to call any of the above numbers for help, Murray said.
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