In 2012, almost 50 million Americans were enrolled in Medicare. That’s over 15% of the population. 11,000 new seniors become eligible for the program – every single day. More and more people are relying on this program, and if you’re one of them, you should stay informed about navigating Medicare and making the best choices for your health.

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Staying Informed

1) First, know your rights. The Affordable Care Act was created in part to increase program integrity, and to outline your benefits and rights so you can make better choices about your health insurance. Companies are required to provide certain services to all beneficiaries, and they must also provide you with a Statement of Benefits, so you know what’s covered.

2) You also need to keep yourself safe from identity theft. Don’t reveal personal details to people who call you or come to your home unsolicited. Information like your Social Security number, Medicare number, and credit card numbers should only be given to doctors, insurers who pay benefits on your behalf, or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare.

3) If you see or suspect Medicare fraud, report it! Some estimates put the cost of Medicare fraud at as much as $98 billion annually. That’s 10% of the total Medicare/Medicaid budget! The actual amount is difficult to pin down, because fraud frequently goes unreported. Read your Statement of Benefits and look over any claims that have been made on your behalf. Medicare fraud raises the cost of Medicare for all Americans, so stay alert!

Choosing a Medicare Plan

There’s no doubt that Medicare can be confusing. Between Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D, Medigap, and all the other options, you probably feel overwhelmed. One study shows that seniors take great care in choosing a plan when they first enroll in Medicare, but don’t switch plans in later years because “they did their homework the first time and most did not want to revisit the decision.”

Don’t fall victim to this line of thinking. You’re not alone; HealthMarkets is on your side. We’ll do the research for you, and help you find the Medicare program that’s right for you. Best of all, we do it at no cost to you. Every year, there’s an Open Enrollment Period from October 15th to December 7th. This is your opportunity to find and change plans to one that’s a better fit for your needs. Don’t just go with the status quo – call HealthMarkets, and we’ll help you make the right choice.

 

 

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References

http://www.medicare.gov/about-us/affordable-care-act/affordable-care-act.html | http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html | http://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/identity-theft/identity-theft.html

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