Each year during the final six weeks of the calendar year (Nov. 15th to Dec. 31st) American Medicare recipients have the opportunity to make changes to existing Medicare plans. This is what is referred to as the Medicare Open Enrollment period. During this time, they can choose to go with Medicare Only, Medicare plus a supplemental insurance plan and to sign up with the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D).

Once a decision has been made, the change to the Medicare beneficiary’s plan will take effect on January 10th of the next calendar year. To avoid any confusion at the pharmacy, it is best to make any changes as soon as possible rather than waiting until the last minute of open enrollment and medicare supplements

Most seniors that are just becoming recipients of Original Medicare do not realize the importance of supplemental Medicare plans for 2012. Even for those in perfect health, you never know the need for extensive surgery, or the need for a visit to the emergency room plus some lab work might leave you in tons of debt. As can be predicted, for those with an exciting medical problem like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or high blood levels, not having a medicare supplement plan will end up costing your way more than any premium that you would have paid.

If a change of plan has been decided upon, the user should do one of the following to make the changes:

Complete a paper application with the company managing the plan and medicare supplements

Go to the plan’s website and apply online.

Call the company and sign up by phone.

Go to the Medicare official website and apply (note: this option may not contain the plan you want).

Call Medicare directly and make the change.

To sign up for the new plan, you will need to be prepared to provide your full name, address, date of birth, Medicare card information, social security number, emergency contact information and the name and address of the nursing home facility or assisted living center in which the person resides (if applicable).

A few weeks after signing up, the company managing the plan will send a packet containing the membership card, a plan user guide and a list of covered prescription drugs and approved pharmacies as well as some other information.

If a user decides that he or she does not want to have a new plan, no action is required. 

The existing plan will be rolled over at the end of the cycle.

It is recommended that all recipients of Medicare annually review their current plan versus other plans to ensure they have the best choice for their situation.  Take a close look at pricing and benefits to compare pricing.

Medigap Insurance and Your Health Risks

Irrespective of how you choose to perceive things, a long life will cost your body. This consists of developing a much higher risk of tumors, cancer, stroke, and a ton of other major medical problems. Medicare only handles about 80 percent of a senior’s total health care bill and for some even more, covering those costs can be impossible if one doesn’t have the ideal amount of supplemental coverage. In fact, for those seniors that are already suffering from a pre-existing condition, or have some sort of medical problem that runs in the family, getting a Medicare plan is the right choice if you may not need it right away as it will give you financial security.