Ahead of deadline, Medicare marketing creates confusion

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Minneapolis, MN, Nov. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – As the Medicare open enrollment deadline approaches, seniors face a deluge of TV ads and direct mail flyers that can do more to scramble leads that provide clear answers on Medicare costs and features. Based on questions posed by our experts, medicareresources.org has offered the following buying tips for Medicare open enrollment, which ends December 7.

Beware of national marketing campaigns

One of the main goals of the Medicare marketing blitz is Medicare Advantage plans – private coverage that includes a number of benefits not available through Original Medicare. This year, Medicare Advantage marketers are including messages telling seniors they can save on Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient expenses and services and some equipment.

“The # 1 thing this year is the Part B premium refund ads,” said Jenny Chumbley Hogue, Medicare enrollment specialist and analyst for medicareresources.org.

When you sign up for an Advantage plan, you still have to pay your Part B premiums, but some Advantage plans pay part of the Part B premium for their enrollees. Most marketers call this the premium Part B ‘refund’ – but many use the term ‘buyback’. And while that return may sound appealing, seniors considering a plan change still need to consider whether their providers are included and how the plan covers their prescription drugs.

“The problem is, these are nationwide ads and not all parts of the country have Part B feedback available, and even when it is available, it is not necessarily the better option, ”said Chumbley Hogue. “But the marketing works; They talk to me about it two or three times a day.

Understand the potential penalties

During open enrollment in Medicare, one option for current enrollers is to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare combined with a Part D plan and possibly a Medigap plan. Enrollers considering Medigap should be aware that these plans are only guaranteed in most states during a beneficiary’s initial open enrollment period. So, if more than six months have passed since you first enrolled in Medicare, your Medigap claim will likely be subject to medical underwriting.

If you are considering Medigap, you will also need a Part D plan to help pay for your prescription drugs. However, don’t rely on a marketing call to make sure you have everything you need.

It is important to know that if you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B and a Medigap plan, but miss the initial registration window for Part D, you will likely be forced to wait until the next registration period. Medicare in the fall to enroll in Part D. And if you go without drug coverage for more than a few months after becoming Medicare eligible, there is a Part D late enrollment penalty (which means higher premiums) which you will have to pay as long as you have Part D coverage.

Register before December 7th

There are two high-profile open enrollment periods going on right now, and they have different deadlines – but only one applies to Medicare coverage. Open enrollment in Medicare – also known as the Annual Election Period (or AEP) – ends on December 7.

Annual open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act for individual and family plans ends on January 15 in most states, but the deadline for obtaining coverage as of January 1 is December 15. Government messages regarding this December deadline appear to be confusing Medicare registrants.

“HealthCare.gov is not coordinating with Medicare, so former ACA market registrants are inundated with calls, emails, and texts saying ‘Don’t forget to sign up by December 15th’,” Chumbley Hogue said. “If you are considering changing your Medicare coverage, the deadline is December 7th. “

Find more detailed information about open Medicare enrollment in the “Medicare 2022 Open Enrollment Guide”.

Medicareresources.org is one of the oldest sources of detailed information on health insurance for consumers. The site provides an overview of the basics of Medicare coverage options, enrollment and eligibility; Coverage FAQs; state-specific health insurance information; and a glossary of Medicare terms. Medicareresources.org is not connected or endorsed by the US government or the federal Medicare program.



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