Open enrollment period for Medicare begins today

Open enrollment period for Medicare begins today
(Source: Caroline Coleburn)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Each year, Medicare health and drug plans can make changes to cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. Oct. 15-Dec. 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs. All changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Congressman Vern Buchanan encourages seniors to review their Medicare coverage and ensure they have the best plan that meets their needs as Medicare open enrollment gets under way.

“Those on Medicare should review their coverage to make the best decision for their health needs because some plans and benefits may change in the upcoming year,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan represents Florida’s 16th congressional district, which is home to more than 220,000 Medicare recipients and is the seventh oldest congressional district in the country.

“Medicare is one of the government’s most successful programs and I hope Florida’s seniors will use this opportunity to find the best plan that fits their health care needs,” Buchanan said. “Don’t let anything catch you off guard next year. Comparing different Medicare plan options could help bring down your out-of-pocket costs.”

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare has an estimated 60 million beneficiaries across the country, accounting for 18 percent of the total U.S. population. Florida ranks second only to California for the highest number of Medicare beneficiaries.

Everyone on Medicare is eligible for prescription drug coverage, regardless of income and resources, health status or current drug expenses. According to report written by Buchanan’s team, seniors who are happy with their current coverage do not need to do anything.

Seniors may sign up or update their plans in two ways:

1. By phone: Call 1-800-MEDICARE.

Seniors should have their Medicare card, a list of drugs they use and the name of their pharmacy on hand to get immediate help in choosing a plan.

2. Online: Go to Medicare.gov to review prescription drug coverage options https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx.

More details on Medicare Open Enrollment are available online in the U.S. Government Medicare handbook: https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf.

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