If you are new to Medicare, you can apply for an MA plan instead of the traditional Medicare. And second, any MA Plan that achieves five-star ratings can enroll people throughout the year. If you have not consulted the Advantage plans available in your area, you will have until December 7 to explore these options. After that, you cannot request another year with only two exceptions. There is a particular time every year called Annual Enrollment Period when you can put in an application for a Medicare benefit plan. Prepare your Google Calendar and your daily calendar. The Annual Enrollment Period for 2012 was scheduled for October 15 to December 7. With the exclusion of recipients who were eligible for a Period of Special Income or an Initial Income Period, this is a period of time that applies to you. Now, the deadline for the Annual Enrollment Period is bound to be modified from one year to the other, so look for updates!
There are some things you should understand about these plans before enrolling. Most plans only cover non-emergency care through your own list of doctors and hospitals. Because Medicare coverage is replaced by Medicare Advantage plans, you are not going to have any Medicare insurance if you need a doctor out-of-network. While you find a doctor who accepts the predetermined amount of the Medicare fees, you will not have copays or coinsurance and you will not have to pay a deductible when you receive network provider’s preventive services. The first thing to keep in mind is if you must continue with original Medicare and buy a Part D plan. There is no rule that requires you to buy a supplemental policy or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans are cheaper.
As it is becoming more and more difficult to locate physicians who work with Medicare, the Advantage plans can be useful. Just like the standard PPO and HMO plans, they have networks of existing providers. Advantage plans of Medicare usually include extra benefits which is not available in Medicare, such as giving assistance with hearing aids or glasses. A lot of Advantage policies also make payment for some prescriptions. Meanwhile, not every medication is insured to confirm that the treatment you require is covered before enrolling in an Advantage plan. When you look at Medicare Plans for 2011 from a higher level view, you really only have three options. Understanding the types of Medicare plans available will allow you to compare Medicare plans for 2011 individually and in parallel to determine which plan is best for you in 2011. The first option is the one you have each year; that is, original Medicare. The other options are Medigap, also known as a Medicare supplement, and finally a Medicare Advantage plan.