By Jesse Gamez / For The Herald
The annual Medicare Benefit and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment interval is historically a time for instructional occasions, lessons and one-on-one conferences, however this yr due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are some new and alternative ways to find out about Medicare.
Open enrollment began Oct. 15 and continues till Dec. 7, permitting hundreds of thousands of individuals eligible for Medicare to evaluate the newest details about accessible well being plans for 2021. In Washington state alone, almost 1.four million persons are enrolled in Medicare, together with virtually 514,000 with Medicare Benefit.
There are sources that will help you select the plan that’s best for you with out having to depart dwelling, together with informational web sites, digital instructional occasions and one-on-one digital conferences with gross sales brokers. On the identical time, it’s necessary to soundly entry Medicare data on-line whereas defending your private data and avoiding pretend affords and different scams.
Listed here are some suggestions for the way to put together for the Medicare fall open enrollment interval:
1. Use an internet instrument: Go to the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov to check plans, advantages and an estimated value for every plan based mostly on a median member.
If you’re excited by Medicare Half D, which helps cowl the price of prescription medicines, you may as well enter the names of prescription medicines you are taking to make sure these medicines are lined by the plan you’re contemplating. You possibly can enroll straight on Medicare.gov.
On Medicare.gov, you may as well find out about and enroll in Medicare Benefit plans, typically known as Half C or MA Plans, and you may as well go to an insurance coverage firm’s web site to study extra about what they provide. Insurance coverage corporations that provide Medicare Benefit plans can give you detailed details about their plans and providers, plus prescription pricing data and different advantages. You can even verify to see in case your main care doctor or different suppliers are in-network with the Medicare Benefit plan.
2. Join a digital schooling workshop: Many insurance coverage corporations are providing on-line workshops to evaluate 2021 Medicare Benefit plan choices. Additionally, verify to see in the event you can arrange a digital one-on-one assembly with an insurance coverage firm gross sales agent, both by cellphone or video chat. Earlier than you attend a digital occasion or assembly, discover out upfront how to go online to the assembly to keep away from technical points. It’s a good suggestion to additionally put together an inventory of questions so to make sure you get the knowledge you want. Does the plan embrace imaginative and prescient, listening to and dental protection? Will telehealth providers be lined? Is transportation to your medical appointments included?
3. Defend your self in opposition to Medicare scams: The federal Medicare company has warned that scammers might attempt to use the pandemic to steal Medicare beneficiaries’ Medicare numbers, banking data or different private knowledge. Scammers might attempt to attain out to you by cellphone, e-mail, textual content message, social media or by visiting your property. Solely give your Medicare quantity to your physician, pharmacist, hospital, well being insurer or different trusted well being care supplier. Don’t click on hyperlinks in textual content messages and emails about covid-19 from unknown sources and grasp up on unsolicited cellphone calls providing covid-19 assessments or provides.
If you’re not snug accessing plan data on-line, Medicare.gov has an choice for establishing a cellphone name.
For extra data, go to Medicare.gov or name 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). For extra details about Humana plans, you’ll be able to go to www.Humana.com/Medicare or converse with a licensed Humana gross sales agent by calling 800-213-5286 (TTY: 711) from eight a.m. to eight p.m. native time, seven days per week.
Jesse Gamez is Intermountain Medicare President at Humana in Washington.