Medicare open enrollment for 2024

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Medicare’s annual open enrollment began this month, giving seniors aged 65 and older a chance to sign up for healthcare coverage for 2024. Open enrollment lasts from Oct. 15 until Dec. 7.

Alfredo Alvarez, State Health Insurance Assistance Counselor of Area Agency on Aging, Region One, Inc., and Angelica Haro, State Health Insurance Assistance Counselor, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss.

There are many different factors that determine what plan is best for you, let us break the basics down.

Original Medicare consists of Part A, which covers inpatient care in a hospital, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and home health care. Part B covers physician services and outpatient hospital services. Beneficiaries who choose original Medicare are eligible to enroll in Part D, covering prescription drugs.

Patients with Medicare can go to any doctor or hospital in the U.S., and they don’t need a referral to see a specialist. However, the plan doesn’t cover most dental, vision, hearing or routine physical exams.

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, is considered a replacement plan for the original Medicare plan covered by private insurance.

Many people might choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan as it may include hearing, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage.

Part C typically bundles both parts A and B. However, there are some exceptions depending on the country.

There is also the option to enroll in Medigap, which covers the gaps Medicare doesn’t pay. It is only available with the original Medicare plan, not the Medicare Advantage plan.

If you require any additional help on what plan to choose there is always the option to call 1-800 Medicare or contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, which can provide one-on-one Medicare counseling.

“The question I hear the most is ‘Do I need to change my plan?’ and that’s going to vary between the person and what their needs are,” Haro said.

Alfredo Alvarez, State Health Insurance Assistance Counselor (Area Agency on Aging, Region One, Inc.)
Angelica Haro, State Health Insurance Assistance Counselor

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