NEW YORK (MainStreet) - Open enrollment for those with Medicare is currently underway until Dec. 31 and this year, more seniors than usual will have some choices to make.
Hundreds of thousands of people will have to choose new health care coverage during Medicare’s annual enrollment period because a number of current plans are being eliminated under health care reform regulations, in an attempt to alleviate the confusion caused by too many existing alternatives.
Additionally, Americans who are new to Medicare and those who have not re-evaluated their Medicare coverage recently may want to take a closer look at their options for 2011.
“Annual enrollment is the one time of year Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to evaluate all their options and choose the best coverage for their needs,” said Adrienne Muralidharan, senior Medicare specialist for Allsup Medicare Advisor, a Medicare plan selection service that helps people understand and choose appropriate Medicare coverage.
Americans qualify for the federal health plan when they turn 65 or become eligible due to a disability. Overall, about 47 million people rely on Medicare and most of them are seniors. According to Allsup, only about 8 million people under 65 receive it.
So what do you need to know if you’re one of the many who needs to make choices this year?
Generally, those who qualify for Medicare coverage receive what is known as Medicare A, which covers hospital costs, and Medicare B, which essentially covers doctors’ visits.