It is the time of the year when Medicare beneficiaries in the US are allowed to make changes to their existing health insurance plans. They are also allowed to enroll as new clients in the open enrollment period. However, experts say that not enough people are taking advantage of the opportunity offered to them.
Medicare open enrollment period started on October 15 and will end on December 7, 2016. Newly eligible persons are allowed to enroll in this period and the 1.5 million other participants and seniors in New Jersey are allowed to change their current plans. Sandra Santoro, who is the state health insurance programs coordinator for Atlantic County said that people should review their health insurance plans each year, as this will help them understand the changes happening to their plans.
“Every person, no matter what insurance they have, should look at their drugs and make sure they are still covered, and if not, this is the time to change the plan. If people don’t check on their drugs, they will be locked into a plan and have to pay out of pocket for those drugs for a year.” Santoro said
We all know that health insurance is complicated, and so are the Federal health plans. People with some disabilities or who are over the age of sixty-five, should learn to find the health plan that best suits their needs. However, residents of New Jersey, who were enrolled in 65 Medical Only and AmeriHealth HMO’s 65 Preferred plans, will have to make changes now, as the insurer has announced that they are not renewing their contract with Medicare for the year 2017.
About 221 people in Atlantic County will be able to get insurance counseling and these people will be eligible to enroll in Medigap or some other private Medicare health insurance plans. Santoro believes that one of the worst-case scenarios is when some person understands that their insurance have dropped coverage for some expensive medication. In such a situation, the person will have to pay for the medication out of their pocket.
Other factors that should be considered while picking an insurance plan are eligibility for the state insurance programs like Senior Gold, military veteran health benefits, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled program. “There are people who didn’t know about certain plans and could have been getting better coverage under them.” Santoro said. “There is a lot of money people could be saving and using somewhere else in their lives.”