I just received the "Annual Notice of Changes 2014" for my AARP MedicareRX Plan, insured by United Healthcare, and "Medicare & You" for 2014, issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Both are about 100 pages, printed on both sides, or about 200 pages each.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a tooth pulled than read through all of that stuff, much of which is hard to understand. Some folks have to go to Florida for a week to recuperate after tangling with that material. Nevertheless, this is important stuff and making the right decisions is essential for every senior.
The third page of the "Annual Notice of Changes" says it all:
- Think about your Medicare coverage for next year.
- Check the changes to our benefits and costs to see if they affect you.
- Check the changes to our prescription drug coverage to see if they affect you.
- Think about your overall health care costs.
- Think about whether you are happy with our plan.
The open enrollment period to make changes in your Medicare plan or insurance company is October 15 to December 7, so you have less than two months to make a decision. If you are not sure what to do or how to do it, it's a good idea to seek help before the time runs out. The earlier the better.
A message from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the first page of "Medicare & You" 2014 notes that the new Health Insurance Marketplace, part of the Affordable Care Act, does not change Medicare (no matter what nonsense you hear on TV). You will still have the benefits and security you have now. If you have questions about Medicare, you can visit Medicare.gov to find the answers you need.