Monday, November 15, 2010

The 2011 Medicare health plan annual enrollment period starts today

Medicare's annual enrollment period begins November 15th and runs through December 31st. BTW - next year the annual enrollment will be from Oct. 15th through December 7th.

Some Background: Individuals become eligible for Medicare the first day of the month they become 65. A couple months prior to the 65th birthday it is recommended that an appointment be made with the retirement representative at the Local Social Security office. Each person turning 65 needs to make arrangements to enroll in Medicare's hospitalization coverage (Part A) and for physician and outpatient service (Part B). If a person plans to continue working the SS office needs to know.

What coverage is available?
Part A pays for hospital expenses using Medicare's rates except for the $1,132 deductible during 2011. There is not cost for this coverage if an individual has worked 40 or more quarters.

Part B pays 80% of Medicare's allowed amount for various types of outpatient related treatment. Part B's monthly premium will be $115.40 for individual who enroll during 2011. If someone elected to receive Social Security early this amount will be deducted from their monthly payment. It they plan to wait until eligible for full retirement benefits at age 66 the Part B monthly premium can be paid on a quarterly basis.

Once enrolled in Part A and Part B many people also enroll in additional coverage to cover the treatment costs Medicare does not fully pay. One option is a Medicare Supplement plan and another is a Medicare Advantage plan. Additional information on these options can be found on my web site -

Additional coverage is needed in one more area - outpatient prescriptions. This is Medicare's Part D. Medicare developed a base amount of coverage and most private companies that offer Part D plans provide more than the base coverage.

Now to the annual enrollment period (AEP). Each year a person enrolled in Medicare A and B can change their supplemental coverage or prescription plan during the AEP. Any changes, which are made, will be effective January 1st and stay in effect until the next years AEP.