Medicare Open Enrollment for 2013: A Complicated Subject

Posted on: October 9th, 2012 by SamTabes No Comments

The Medicare open enrollment period for 2013 runs from October 13th through December 7th, and many Americans are concerned about new options, especially with health care reform upon us.  Once again, about 50 million Americans, most of which are seniors, are asked to review their current Medicare options and determine if they need to switch.  They are able to do so during this short time frame.

It’s common for seniors to feel anxious about this time of year as they are overwhelmed with the complex options available to them through Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.  Many choose to stick with their current plans out of a feeling of being comfortable, even though they could save a lot of money by shopping around and carefully comparing their options.  But this takes time and a good understanding of what you are actually comparing.

Mary Dale Walters, senior vice president for Allsup Medicare Advisor, confirms that not a lot of people are switching plans this year in The Best Life article found on  Companies such as Allsup have a growing need as seniors seek out help sorting through all of the Medicare information.  Walters goes on to point out that a continuing consistency with Medicare is that it is very complicated.  Even though there have been attempts to simplify the process, there is still a lot of information to process from year to year.

Avalere Health is a healthcare research firm and consulting company that has looked at 2013 Medicare plans and concluded that 7 out of 10 of the most popular plans were raising their prescription prices by over than 10%.  More plans are partnering with pharmacies and doctors making it even more complicated as to where you can get the cheapest drugs.  These are some important reasons why seniors should compare the costs of their particular drugs from plan to plan.

Another complication thrown into the mix is health care reform.  Reform does aim to lower prices of drugs for seniors with large drug bills who fall into the doughnut hole but many seniors don’t fully understand this concept.  Health care reform is constantly under fire and many question if it’s here to stay, so people aren’t taking their time to research option changes under the new law.  Time will tell if the changes will end up affecting seniors in a measurable way which they can really feel.  Walters recommends taking the time to sit down and create a ‘needs’ list and consult with an expert if necessary.  It’s more important than ever to ensure seniors are saving as much money as possible on their Medicare policies during this open enrollment time frame.

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