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Consumer Alert: Medicare Open Enrollment Window

Monday, October 15, 2012

Medicare open enrollment is a brief time during the year when Medicare and Medicare Advantage subscribers can switch their plans and make sure that the plan they are enrolled in is the best one available.

So if you or or someone you know is on Medicare, you have a limited opportunity right now to review your benefit plan and make sure it's the best choice for you and your family. The Medicare open enrollment period is the only time you can change plans, and this year, it lasts for seven weeks-from October 15 to December 7. If you have traditional Medicare benefits through Part B, or if you get your coverage from a Medicare Advantage Plan through Part C, you can change your plan or move from one to the other. You can also change your prescription drug plan in Part D.

I know that the many different Medicare plans and options can be overwhelming, but there are resources to help you choose the best one for you and your family. The "Medicare and You" handbook is a great place to start. If you're eligible for Medicare, you should already have received your Medicare and You handbook this year. If you believe you should have gotten one and you haven't, you can download one electronically here, from www.medicare.gov, or get another one mailed to you by calling 1-800-MEDICARE. The handbook has the background information you need to change plans or learn more about the different health plans and prescription drug options. You can also talk to a specialist at 1-800-MEDICARE about any specific questions you have about your plan.

Another great resource is the Minnesota Senior Linkage Line. This hotline is provided by the Minnesota Board on Aging, and their experts can talk to you about your options for Medicare coverage and help to answer your questions. The Senior Linkage Line phone number is 1-800-333-2433.

Seniors deserve to enjoy their retirement. You worked hard for years; now your Medicare should work for you. I'll continue fighting to protect the Medicare program in Congress. It's up to you to make sure you have the Medicare coverage that's right for you and your family.


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