Extension Educators Explain Difference Between Medicare Part D a - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Extension Educators Explain Difference Between Medicare Part D and Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment

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There might be some confusion this year among Americans who are unsure if they are signing up for Medicare Part D or coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace began Oct. 1, with open enrollment for Medicare Part D following on Oct. 15.

University of Nebraska- Lincoln extension educators are answering some questions about the two to help clear up confusion.

What is the difference between Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare Part D?

The Marketplace is designed to help people who don't have any health coverage. The Marketplace does not affect Medicare and Medicare benefits are not changing. Medicare beneficiaries should not use the Marketplace to find coverage options. It is against the law for someone to sell a Marketplace plan to a Medicare beneficiary.

What are the Medicare Part D enrollment dates?

Time is fast approaching to compare Medicare Part D for next year. The annual Open Enrollment dates for Medicare Part D begin October 15 and decisions for 2014 must be made no later than December 7. Coverage begins January 1, 2014.

Why is it important to review and compare Part D plans?

Many plans change benefits and costs. Also, your prescriptions may change. It's important to make sure your needs are covered.

If an individual is currently enrolled in a drug plan, what should they do?

If you are currently enrolled in a drug plan, coverage continues into 2014 providing your drug plan is one of the 29 drug plans available to Nebraska Medicare beneficiaries in 2014.

New premiums and deductibles for the 2014 Prescription Drug plans have been released. Each plan covers different prescriptions so the cheapest premium isn't the best for every person. The only way to be certain your current drug plan is your best option for 2014 is by having a personalized drug plan comparison.

Who can you go to for assistance?

Again this year, Senior Health Insurance Information Program volunteers and University of Nebraska extension educators have teamed up to provide free, unbiased counseling information and enrollment for people who are receiving Medicare. 

How can people get help for Medicare Part D?

There are three ways for people to get help:

  • Get one-on-one help from the Nebraska State Health Insurance Information Program. Call the toll-free hotline at 800-234-7119 to make an appointment in your area.
  • Visit http://www.medicare.gov to compare your current coverage with all of the available options in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day/7 days a week to find out more about your coverage options.
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