Medicare open enrollment is earlier this year – October 15 – December 7. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides valuable information regarding the Medicare Advantage premiums for 2012.
2012 Medicare Advantage premiums fall and projected enrollment rises
Open enrollment is earlier this year – October 15 through December 7
On average, Medicare Advantage premiums will be 4 percent lower in 2012 than in 2011, and plans project enrollment to increase by 10 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today. Of people with Medicare, 99.7 percent continue to enjoy access to a Medicare Advantage plan, and benefits remain consistent with those offered in 2011. This follows an earlier announcement that average prescription drug plan premiums will remain virtually unchanged in 2012.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare is stronger than ever,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “On average, Medicare Advantage premiums will go down next year and seniors will enjoy more free benefits and cheaper prescription drugs.”
CMS was able to use authority provided by the Affordable Care Act to protect beneficiaries from significant increases in costs or cuts in benefits in 2012, leading to average premium declines for the second year in a row: 2012 premiums are projected to be 11.5 percent below 2010 premiums.
In 2012, all beneficiaries will have access to Medicare-covered preventive services without paying a co-pay or deductible, including an Annual Wellness Visit with their physicians. Those who reach the donut hole will enjoy deep discounts on brand name drugs and expanded coverage for generic drugs under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
This year marks an important change in Medicare’s annual open enrollment, the time period during which people can choose to change plans or shift from Medicare Advantage to Traditional Medicare. Open Enrollment starts earlier – on October 15, 2011 – and lasts longer (7 full weeks) to give beneficiaries enough time to review and make changes to their coverage. As a result, however, beneficiaries will need to make their elections for next year’s Medicare coverage by December 7, 2011 rather than the usual December 31. The new open enrollment period will better ensure that individuals have their membership cards in hand and receive uninterrupted health care coverage on January 1, 2012.
For the full press release, click here.
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