From the Indiana Department of Insurance:
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period began on October 15th and runs until December 7th, 2022. This is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can make changes to their Medicare Advantage health and prescription drug plans that will take effect on January 1st, 2023.
During Medicare open enrollment, you can expect to see plenty of advertisements promising the “latest and greatest” ways to save on your health plans and expenses if you’ll just “call right now!” While some choices may look promising on your TV or computer screens, not all plans are created equal, and some offers really are “too good to be true.”
The following tips will help you navigate Medicare and Medicare Advantage open enrollment, find the plan that works best for you, and spot misleading or fraudulent marketing.
Don’t be pressured.
- There’s no such thing as a “limited-time offer” or “special discount if you sign up right away.”
- You don’t have to decide after a single phone call or website visit.
- Feel free to ask anyone calling you for their full name and contact information, company license information, or a copy of the plan. NOTE: Medicare and Social Security will never contact you by phone to offer a health plan.
- You don’t need to provide your Social Security number (SSN), bank account, Medicare number, or credit card before you can see plan details or receive a quote for legitimate plans.
Do your homework.
- Read Medicare.gov’s breakdown to learn more about what each part of Medicare covers and the difference between Medicare, Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap), Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid.
- Keep in mind that not all the benefits you hear about on TV or see on the Internet may be offered by every plan or even be available in your local area.
- Familiarize yourself with the rules those representing a Medicare health plan must follow.
- Read the fine print of Medicare Advantage plans. When you hear something is “free” or “zero premium,” you need to exercise caution. While some plans may have “zero co-pays,” those could be limited to your primary care provider. If you see a lot of specialists, you may pay more out of pocket.
Follow basic cybersecurity practices online.
- Beware of clicking on random Internet ads.
- Know that some websites will change their colors or layout to look like a government site but aren’t actually affiliated with the government.
- Use caution with unsolicited messages, texts, or emails.
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can help with your questions about Medicare. SHIP is a free and impartial counseling program for people with Medicare. All of SHIP’s services are offered at no charge to consumers. SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company or agency and does not sell insurance. The program is facilitated by the Indiana Department of Insurance and Administration for Community Living. SHIP is part of a federal network of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs located in every state.
SHIP is staffed by a crew of volunteer counselors who have completed intensive training to offer Medicare beneficiaries objective assistance in complete confidence. If you or someone you know needs help with their Medicare questions, call the SHIP helpline at 1-800-452-4800 or the TTY line for the hearing impaired at 1-866-846-0139. You also can find SHIP online at www.Medicare.IN.gov.
Consumers may also contact a licensed insurance agent for assistance when making purchasing decisions regarding Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Prescription Plans.
Featured photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels