Medicare Open Enrollment Period Comes to a Close on Dec. 7

Make Your Health Care Insurance Choices Before Friday

Yahoo Contributor Network

Oklahoma residents age 65 or older and disabled residents have until midnight Friday to make their choices for supplement health insurance and/or prescription drug coverage -- as do the residents in the rest of the nation.

Medicare Open Enrollment 2012

Medicare recipients have the opportunity to choose whether or not to add additional health care coverage to that which Medicare provides during the annual open enrollment period of Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Medicare recipients can choose between the more traditional supplemental health insurances or the Medicare Advantage plans. The Advantage plans have prescription coverage built into them, while someone who chooses a supplemental plan will likely need to purchase a Part D plan if they wish to have prescription drug coverage.

Where Can Oklahomans, Other Americans Go to Get Help?

Oklahoma senior residents can get free assistance in reviewing policies available in their areas from unbiased, knowledgeable sources via the Medicare Assistance Program provided by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, reported NewsOK.com, by calling 800-763-2828. Use this number also if you'd prefer to find someone in your area with whom you could visit on site or by phone to assist in your open enrollment decision-making.

Any Medicare recipient can also access free assistance and information in choosing the best supplemental or Advantage plan for your needs and area by visiting the Department of Health and Human Service's Plan Finder, at healthcare.gov, medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

Do You Have to Change Plans Each Year?

If you like the benefits you are receiving with your current plan, and that plan is still being offered in your area, you don't have to do anything for that same plan to be your coverage for 2013. Many health insurance experts advise you to compare your current plan with new plans that may have become available. Medicare.gov allows you to select and compare plans side by side to determine which is best for your individual situation.

What Other Issues Are Important in Choosing the Best Coverage for You?

The price of a policy is only one factor for your consideration when choosing the best coverage for you. One policy may charge more per month than another policy, but if the higher-priced policy would result in lower health care costs for you, you have to do the math to weigh the differences.

Medicare.gov also provides a star-rating system for each of the insurances, with five stars being the highest rating. This may or may not influence your choices.

Bottom Line

If you want your Medicare supplemental coverage to begin seamlessly on Jan. 1, you must make your choice before midnight on Dec. 7. Don't hesitate any longer to find the information you need to make a good decision for yourself and your health care.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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