What older people should know about Medicare benefits in 2011 – Part 2
Medicare continues to offer options for people over 65 throughout the year. I covered the benefits for older people in Part 1. Here, in Part 2, I will focus on the benefits available to people over 65, but first, a little history. You are now in the “block” period, which essentially means that your Medicare options are extremely limited. That is when most Medicare beneficiaries cannot change their underlying Medicare coverage. In recent years, an annual application period extended from November 15 to December 31, followed by an open application period (OPO) from January 1 to March 31. Now, with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), OEP has been replaced by the Medicare Advantage (MADP) cancellation period. During MADP, which ended February 14, you can only leave a Medicare Advantage Plan and return to the original Medicare and prescription drug plan.
The exceptions are those who qualify for a Special Election Period (SEP) and those who have Special Needs. In general, a change in the status of the Medicare beneficiary with your current coverage would trigger an SEP. An example would be people who lose coverage from their retired employer or group or Medicare Advantage subscribers who leave their service area and are abandoned from their plan. In addition to these two examples, there are two SEPs based on the financial status of an older person: those who receive the low-income Medicare allowance can enroll in the Medicare Advantage plans throughout the year and those who are enrolled in their plan State pharmaceutical assistance. (SPAP) are eligible for an election in the Medicare Advantage Plan, which includes the Prescription Drug Benefit.
The plan for people with special needs is a type of Medicare benefit plan that is available specifically for this special population: doubly eligible chronic and institutional disease. Eligible doubles are those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. Those who have a chronic illness are those that a doctor has certified as treated for a qualified medical condition specifically designated in the plan. And institutional refers to those who are confined to a long-term care service. Finally, if you are interested in a Medicare advantage plans you can enroll all year if you have original Medicare A or B. In addition, you can change Medicare supplemental coverage at any time. It can certainly be a good idea for a qualified agent to evaluate your coverage and see if you can save some money on your policy.