Open enrollment for Medicare officially began this week, allowing those eligible to choose their medicare health and drug plan. The open enrollment period lasts until December 7, so there's no rush for seniors to choose a prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan that's tailored to their needs.
Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), this week provided some tips to help people choose which plan is best for them. Tavenner posted her tips to The Medicare Blog, saying:
In my work with Medicare, one of the questions people ask me often is which plan is the best one. That’s not something I can answer, because picking a plan is an important and personal decision. Each person has a unique set of priorities. How do you weigh your options? Now’s the time to think about what matters to you, and pick the Medicare plan that meets your needs.
Travenner highlighted four specific things people should keep in mind while shopping for a Medicare plan: costs, coverage, convenience, and quality of care. The cost of coverage can be balanced by a person's financial situation and treatment needs, while the "convenience" aspect can touch on everything from pharmacy locations and mail-order prescriptions to personal mobility. Travenner suggests that people try and predict what services they are likely to need in the coming year, and choose a plan accordingly.
As for quality of care, Travenner states that 5-star performance rating plans could help speed recovery or improve outcomes for those who pay for them. The Medicare Plan Finder can be used to compare plans and enroll.
In other Medicare news, the U.S. Justice Department and Health and Human Services recently announced a huge Medicare fraud crackdown that nabbed 91 doctors, nurses, and others.