Sifting Through the Medicare Maze: Aon Hewitt Offers Tips to Seniors Enrolling in a Medicare Plan This Fall

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., Oct. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 2013 Medicare enrollment season approaches, seniors will be able to choose from thousands of options available in the individual Medicare market, which can be a daunting task. According to Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), seniors who do their homework, shop early and use the robust tools and resources available to them will be in the best position to choose a plan that meets their needs.

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On October 15, millions of retirees will have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare plans. According to Aon Hewitt research, 60 percent of seniors say that the amount of information about Medicare health insurance can be overwhelming, which can lead to less than ideal Medicare enrollment choices.  

"For many seniors, it is the first time they've had to think about enrolling in Medicare benefits, and they are not sure where to start," explained Tina Maldonado, retiree experience leader for Aon Hewitt Navigators, a comprehensive retiree health care exchange that has serviced more than 250,000 retirees since 2010. "The good news is that retirees have access to more help and assistance than ever before. They should take advantage of the resources and tools that are available to help them understand Medicare and enroll in the right plan to meet their individual health and financial needs." 

To ensure seniors optimize their health care choices, experts from Aon Hewitt Navigators offer the following tips this enrollment season:

Start early. Enrolling in Medicare, especially for the first time, is a complex process. You have limited time to choose and enroll in a plan, so don't wait until the last minute to start evaluating your options.

Read the fine print.  If you are enrolling in Medicare for the first time, it's important to understand how the plan works, what the plan will cost you (premiums and out of pocket expenses) and under what circumstances you can make changes to your coverage. Also, make sure to verify that your medications will be covered and that your preferred physicians or hospitals are included in the plan.

If you are already enrolled in a Medicare plan, you should already have your annual notice of coverage from your carrier. Stop and read it. Take note of premium changes or benefit changes that could increase your costs. Understand what's changing about your plan and whether it still meets your needs. If not, take action and get help to re-evaluate your plan.

Do your homework. Your choices not only impact your pocketbook, but also your overall well-being. It is important that you take the time to seriously evaluate all of your Medicare options and weigh them against your specific needs. Before you begin, here are some questions to consider:

  • How is your health? Have your needs changed since last year?
  • Do you anticipate any significant life changes this year, like a move?
  • What prescriptions are you taking?
  • Are there specific doctors that you want in your medical plan?
  • What type of premium can you afford?
  • Do you have a chronic condition?

As you are researching your options, ask your friends and family about their plans. What do they like and dislike? Getting advice from trusted family members and friends is a good way to get information on how a plan operates, the service it provides and the turnaround time on claims payments. Remember that you have unique health and financial considerations, so look for a plan that is right for you.

Shop around. Medicare exchange marketplaces, which work similar to other online shopping marketplaces, offer hundreds of Medicare plan options and insurance companies that allow you to sort and filter by price, insurance company and other criteria to find a plan most suited to meet your needs.

With the advent of Medicare exchange marketplaces like Aon Hewitt Navigators, you can leverage on-line decision support tools that help you learn about the basics of Medicare and compare a variety of local Medicare insurance products quickly and conveniently in the comfort of your home. Licensed advisors are also available by phone and can help you if you need additional support.

Take advantage of tools and help.  There are a number of tools and resources available today that can help simplify this often complex process. For those retirees who want to change to another plan, it's important to know that in some cases, you might have to answer medical questions to make a change to a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap). It is a good idea to speak with someone to understand the circumstances under which you can change plans. 

Many organizations offer online tools that help you compare plans side-by-side and make trade-off decisions on providers, coverage and cost. You can also speak directly with a licensed benefit advisor who can help guide you through the decision making process, help you understand the various types of coverage, assess your needs, choose a plan and complete enrollment. 

If you are new to Medicare, you can visit medicare.gov, a robust site that will provide you with information and guidance on things to consider for Medicare, along with steps you need to take. You can also look for events in your community focused on choosing a Medicare plan. It's important to make sure that these events are hosted by unbiased and independent partners who can help you make an objective decision. 

About Aon Hewitt
Aon Hewitt empowers organizations and individuals to secure a better future through innovative talent, retirement and health solutions. We advise, design and execute a wide range of solutions that enable clients to cultivate talent to drive organizational and personal performance and growth, navigate retirement risk while providing new levels of financial security, and redefine health solutions for greater choice, affordability and wellness.  Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions, with over 30,000 professionals in 90 countries serving more than 20,000 clients worldwide.  For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit www.aonhewitt.com.

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 65,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world's best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit www.aon.com for more information on Aon and www.aon.com/manchesterunited to learn about Aon's global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United

Media Contacts:
Maurissa Kanter, 847-442-0952, [email protected]
Cybil Rose, 312.755.3537, [email protected]

SOURCE Aon plc

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