Seniors Face New Choices With Approach Of First Open Enrollment Since Health Overhaul
Provisions of the health overhaul will reshape many aspects of the Medicare program, but in the meantime, have left consumers in a state of confusion.
New York Daily News, in a consumer column: "Not only is there a lot of Medicare confusion right now - information, both true and false, has been flying around since the health care overhaul law was signed this year by President Obama - but as with most group insurance plans, fall is open enrollment." As they make choices, beneficiaries should know about changes that will begin to close the so-called "doughnut hole" in the Medicare drug benefit, and pending cuts to the Medicare advantage program (Chatzky, 10/4).
New York Daily News, in a second story: "[R]etirees have many options available to them under Medicare. Although [one patient] qualified for a savings program, others find it's invaluable to select a plan that provides the coverage they need. Choose the wrong one and you could get flooded with bills or be told you have no coverage. With open enrollment Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, now's the right time to evaluate your choices." Groups like the Medicare Rights Center, an advocate for beneficiaries, may be able to help (Ransom, 10/4).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with more advice for Medicare beneficiaries: "Some consumers who need to be especially alert as the paperwork arrives include: those who use flexible spending accounts for medical expenses, parents of uninsured adult children under age 26, parents of kids with pre-existing conditions and anyone who plans to get preventive care in the coming year. Everybody needs to study the costs: Most Atlanta companies and most employees will pay more for health care again next year" (Teegardin, 10/2).
The (Ocala, Fla.) Star-Banner: "In some areas, there will be dozens, even hundreds, of coverage options. The choices must be reviewed not just by current enrollees and a crush of baby boomers newly eligible for the government-run insurance program, but also by millions of people helping older beneficiaries. All of them must navigate a system that is changing rapidly, in part because of requirements imposed by the new health care law" (Konrad, 10/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.