Now’s the time to review your Medicare coverage
Colorado’s 574,263 Medicare beneficiaries would be wise to review their coverage this year and make changes, if necessary.
Each year, during the annual open enrollment period — Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 — beneficiaries are advised to review their options.
Medicare consumers who do not making changes by Dec. 31 automatically will be re-enrolled with the same coverage as 2009.
However, not heeding advice to view Medicare insurance options could be riskier than ever this year as insurers are cutting back on choices for Medicare Advantage and premiums for Part D prescription drug plans will rise.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 185,673 people use Medicare Advantage in Colorado.
The foundation determined the average premium cost will rise by about a third for people who use Medicare Advantage and keep their current coverage. That increase does not include monthly premiums for basic Medicare coverage.
Basic Medicare premiums for higher-income Medicare consumers will rise by 15 percent in 2010, the foundation reported.
The average monthly premiums for Part D coverage will rise by 11 percent, but those costs vary widely according to plan and where consumers live.
Beneficiaries should consider a host of variables when reviewing health care options.
For example, physicians can change networks so it may be important to check if your primary care doctor is in your plan. People taking medications for chronic conditions should make sure those drugs are covered under their plan.
And it’s always wise to access long-term health care needs. If a surgery is planned for next year, make sure the procedure will be covered.