If you are like most people, medical insurance coverage is probably NOT first on your list of things you spend much time thinking about! Once a year though, you should take a few minutes to review your current insurance plans and determine if there have been changes in the plans, or the costs, and if those plans still meet your needs.
Each year, the review period for making changes to Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Supplement Plans “opens up”, and you have a limited amount of time to make any changes needed for the coming year. This year, the Medicare open enrollment period is from October 15 thru December 7.
The website, www.medicare.gov, is the place to go to find out all you ever wanted to know about Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans. There are tools on the website that help you find health and drug plans in your area, find Doctors, other providers, hospitals and suppliers who participate in Medicare. You can review and compare coverage options, check your current enrollment status, enroll for 2015, and find costs for all Medicare plans. On this webpage, there is a helpful blog full of useful, easy to understand information on topics like Saving Money on Healthcare Costs, Caregiver Tips, Diabetes Management and even Hospice.
When considering a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Supplement Plan, make sure you ask about:
- Annual Deductibles
- Co-insurance amounts
- Coverage for “out of network” providers
- Preauthorization for referrals required before your visit
- Monthly costs
For in-person help locally, The North Carolina Department of Insurance offers the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program – SHIIP. This is a free program; trained volunteers can work with you to determine the best healthcare insurance program for your individual circumstances. Go to www.ncdoi.com/SHIIP to find a local SHIIP counselor by county.
Mecklenburg County – SHIIP Counselors are available, by appointment, at the following locations:
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Centers, Inc., 2225 Tyvola Rd, 704-522-6222
- Shamrock Senior Center, 3925 Willard Farrow Dr., 704-531-6900
- North Mecklenburg Senior Ctr., Huntersville, 704-875-1270
- Betty Rae Thomas Center, Tuckaseegee Road, 704-393-7333
- Levine Senior Center, Matthews, 704-846-4654
- Jewish Community Center, Providence Rd., 704-944-6753
- Shepherd Center @ Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3115 Providence Rd., 704-365-1995
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