Enrollment tips for Medicare in 2011

Bryan Aldrige

November 19, 2010

The enrollment period for Medicare lasts from November to the end of the year. It can be important for older adults to familiarize themselves with the offerings of the healthcare system and U.S. News & World Report recently shared tips for those looking to enroll.

Before subscribing to any plan, individuals should know that there are four lettered sections of Medicare – A, B, C and D.

A is for hospital services and is generally free. B provides physician care and equipment costs. Medicare C covers Medicare Advantage insurance, which includes A and B, as well as prescription drug coverage. D is solely for medications.

While Part A is free, B requires a monthly premium that has been climbing in recent years. While those who have already enrolled will pay the same rate of $96.40 each month, new beneficiaries in 2010 pay $110.50 and those in 2011 will pay $115.40. The rate will be higher for those with an income over $85,000.

Part D is estimated to have rising premiums as well. Some experts have predicted a rise as high as 10 percent in 2011. Therefore, it can be important for beneficiaries to look around for the best deals.

Enrollment traditionally begins on November 15 and ends March 31, but new regulations have now stipulated that the extension period only lasts from January 1 to February 15. That means that it is imperative for older adults to subscribe as soon as they can.

There are some benefits to new healthcare legislation as well. Many preventative services are free and seniors would be wise to take advantage of this new feature. Visiting doctors for a medical problem can guarantee that the situation doesn't escalate and treatment is found as soon as possible.

Medicare Plan D can become more costly if a senior is prescribed more medications. Occasionally, patients can discontinue the use of drugs before completing a treatment, which doesn't fully cure an illness.

While remembering to take prescriptions at different times during the day can be frustrating, it can be a key to staying healthy. Individuals may want to invest in a medical alert system, which can easily be used as a pill dispenser and programmed to notify patients when it's time to take their medication.

These medical alerts can guarantee that seniors spend more time enjoying their retirement and less time worrying about pills.

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