ORANGE, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Your Medicare coverage has helped you pay for medical care throughout the past year. A lot can happen in a year – and your needs in 2014 could be different. Maybe you’ve faced unexpected medical costs this year, or experienced a change in your health. Hopefully, you had a relatively healthy year, with low out-of-pocket medical expenses, and acceptable costs for prescriptions, supplies, and copayments.
“The summaries being sent by the Medicare Advantage plans will provide beneficiaries with benefits and costs for 2014, so you can compare these with the coverage you had this past year”
“Even if you’ve been content with your current coverage, Medicare’s Annual Election Period offers you an opportunity to reflect on this past year, and consider the year ahead,” notes Kyal Moody, Senior Vice President at Joppel by HealthCompare Insurance Services. “It’s the ideal time to decide if your current Medicare coverage is still right for you.”
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Affordable Care Act mandates that health insurers and group health plans provide the 180 million Americans who have private insurance with clear, consistent, and comparable information about their health plan benefits and coverage. Specifically, the regulations “will ensure consumers have access to two forms that will help them understand and evaluate their health insurance choices.”1 These forms include the Summary of Benefits (SB) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC), as well as a uniform glossary of common terms. Medicare beneficiaries who get their benefits from a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan will be receiving their SB and EOC documents this month.
“The summaries being sent by the Medicare Advantage plans will provide beneficiaries with benefits and costs for 2014, so you can compare these with the coverage you had this past year,” notes Moody. “You may want to ask yourself several questions when reviewing this information. Will your costs or benefits change next year? Should you expect additional out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, premiums, and prescriptions? Were your 2013 medical expenses manageable and within your budget? And, of course, is your 2014 premium right for your budget?”
If you are comfortable with your current Medicare coverage, you may want to continue it uninterrupted. However, if your needs have changed – or if your plan is changing in a way that might adversely affect you because of added costs or reduced benefits – October 15th through December 7th is the time to go through your 2013 medical records and bills and consider your 2014 options. One resource to research Part C, Part D, and Medicare Supplement plans is Joppel.com, which offers a needs assessment tool to evaluate plans, side-by-side, based on premium, deductible, out-of-pocket costs, and CMS “star” ratings. You can also review plan information online in “real time” with another person, even if you’re in different locations. It’s just important to act before AEP runs out.
Joppel® by HealthCompare® helps those eligible for Medicare easily research, compare, buy, and enroll in the right health insurance plan at the right price. Through the Joppel.com website, Medicare-eligible individuals, their family members, and caregivers have easy access to side-by-side plan comparisons for hundreds of Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare Supplement (Medigap), and Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Part D) plans from insurance carriers nationwide. Joppel by HealthCompare is part of The Word & Brown Companies, which provide insurance services nationwide through more than 50,000 brokers to hundreds of thousands of consumers and approximately 60,000 employers with nearly 6.5 million eligible employees.
1 “The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight;” cms.gov