(NNPA) — Your health needs change from year to year. And, your health plan may change its benefits and costs each year too. That’s why it’s important to review your Medicare choices each fall. Compare your current plan to new options and see if you can lower your costs or find a plan better suited to your needs. Open Enrollment is the one time of year when Medicare beneficiaries can see what new benefits options Medicare has to offer and make changes to their coverage.
Whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll still have many of the same benefits and security you have now, including:
• Preventive benefits – including certain cancer screenings – available at no cost to you when provided by qualified and participating health professionals. The annual wellness visit lets you sit down with your doctor to discuss your health care needs and the best ways to stay healthy.
• Medicare will notify you about plan performance and the ability to use its online Plan Finder to compare and enroll in quality plans.
• In 2017, if you reach the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, you’ll save 60 percent on covered brand-name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs while in the donut hole.
It’s worth it to take the time to review and compare your Medicare coverage options, but you don’t have to do it alone. Medicare is available to help.
• Visit Medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.
• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day/7 days a week to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
• Review the Medicare & You 2017 handbook. It’s mailed to people with Medicare in September and is also available online at Medicare.gov.
• If you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get Extra Help paying your prescription drug coverage costs. For more information, visit socialsecurity.gov/i1020 or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
• Get one-on-one help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit Medicare.gov/contacts or call 1-800-MEDICARE to get the phone number for your local SHIP.
This message is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.