Medicare’s open-enrollment period, when the 49 million Americans who use the program can make changes to their 2013 coverage, is about to come to a close – for most beneficiaries and their families, the deadline for alterations is midnight on Friday, Dec. 7. (There are some exceptions to the deadline: Most notably, families affected by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath can get an extension from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.)Shutterstock.com
Folks who are satisfied with their current coverage don’t have to act. But as MarketWatch’s Jonnelle Marte reported in October, there have been significant changes in some Medicare plans that could have a major impact on costs and coverage for retirees who rely heavily on prescription drugs. So if you’re weighing your own coverage or helping your parents or other relatives with theirs, you may have a lot to mull over.
For help with navigating the options, these resources can be useful:
- To compare Medicare plans, visit the Medicare “Plan Finder” Web tool.
- For free counseling to help you pick a plan, call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). To find your local SHIP, click here or call 800-677-1116.
- For a list of questions to ask to ask before joining a private Medicare Advantage plan, visit Medicare Interactive’s question site here; it’s a project of the nonprofit Medicare Rights Center.