SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- With less than two weeks to go before the start of the Medicare annual enrollment period (AEP), Extend Health, Inc., which operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country, is offering free advice to seniors on navigating the complexities of Medicare and Medicare supplemental plans and important changes to Medicare.
To get ready for the AEP, seniors should note that the annual enrollment period for Medicare starts and ends earlier this year, running from October 15-December 7, 2011. Seniors turning 65 can begin the process three months before their 65th birthday.
Seniors also should be aware about another change to Medicare that went into effect in 2011. There is now a 45-day Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that runs each year from January 1-February 14 and affects seniors in the following situations:
- If you have a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, you can switch to “original” Medicare and a prescription drug plan
- If you have a Medicare Private Fee-For Service plan that does not have prescription drug coverage and a standalone prescription drug plan, you can switch to original Medicare without a prescription drug plan
- If you have original Medicare or original Medicare and a prescription drug plan, you cannot switch your plan under the MADP or as a result of the MADP
To take advantage of Extend Health’s offer of free advice, seniors can access an online guide, “Understanding Your Medicare Options,” available at www.extendhealth.com/medicare/understanding-medicare. The guide offers insight into the rules of Medicare, including enrollment, benefits, and coverage as well as Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and how to use private Medicare supplemental or Medicare Advantage plans to fill gaps in coverage that leave many retirees with substantial out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. Alternatively, seniors can call 1-866-322-2824 and speak to a licensed and trained Benefit Advisor who will provide the same information and answer questions over the telephone.
The guide includes 5 things every senior should know about Medicare:
1. When you are eligible: In general, U.S. citizens 65 and older are eligible for Medicare.
2. The different parts of Medicare and what they mean to you: In addition to original Medicare, private Medicare supplemental (Medicare Advantage) and Medigap plans can fill expensive gaps in what original Medicare covers.
3. Advantages of different private Medicare options: Learn all about your options, from prescription drug to Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plans.
4. How to enroll: Enrollment requirements are different for original Medicare and various private Medicare supplemental plans.
5. Medicare terms and what they mean: Key terms are defined in a convenient glossary.
About Extend Health
Extend Health, Inc., founded in 2004, operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country. For more information, visit Extend Health on the web at http://www.extendhealth.com.
For Extend Health, Inc.
Rob Wyse, 212-920-1470
KEYWORDS: United States North America California
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Seniors Health Other Health Professional Services Insurance Consumer General Health Managed Care