I was reading an article in the USA Today by Steve Weisman titled How to spot, avoid Medicare open-enrollment scams. Being in my field of expertise I thought this was going to be a great article. I am all for educating the seniors on how to protect themselves not only with insurance and the correct Medicare supplement (Medigap Plan) but as well how they can protect themselves from scammers that can financially hurt or even destroy them. However, some of the background information is erroneous Medicare Information and is not factually correct.
“Open Enrollment Period”
The first sentence of the article is wrong “The open enrollment period for Medicare. ….began on Oct. 15 and continues until Dec 7. Fact, This period of time is not the open enrollment period it is the annual election period. There are different open enrollment periods if you, for example, you are aging into Medicare, or are getting Part B for the first time, which also affects your Medicare supplement eligibility. If you were to cancel your Medicare supplement (Medigap) plan and want another Medigap plan during the annual election period, depending on what state you live in, you will more than likely have to pass an underwriting questionnaire in order to qualify for the new Medigap plan.
The second sentence is partially wrong. This is the only time during the year that people enrolled in Medicare can change their Medicare Health plans, their supplemental insurance plans (Medigap) and their prescription drug plans. Fact this is the only time they can change their Medicare Advantage plans or Prescription Drug plans (unless they qualify for a special election period, their Medigap plans (Medicare supplement) plans can be changed anytime throughout the year.
“Are You Satisfied”
The third sentence of the second paragraph states that if you are satisfied with your plans, you do not need to do anything. This is neither right or wrong, however, it should be noted that one should pay attention to changes in their plans as they might not be clear as day to see, like formulary changes. What may have made you satisfied for this year or even previous years, may be changing for next year.
There is a lot of erroneous Medicare information floating around out there on the interwebs, find someone that you can trust, and then use the trust but verify method, as this is your livelihood, and not theirs.
Medicare does have an annual publication called Medicare and You, that goes over these items and more. I am always available to help you with your questions about Medicare and obtaining proper and affordable Medicare Supplemental coverage.