It’s that time of year to play in the leaves, try a new pumpkin recipe and renew your health insurance plan.
Okay, so the last one is not so much fun, but it can be a big money saver!
If you are a Medicare beneficiary or if your health insurance comes thru The Marketplace, now is the time to review and make changes to your plan for 2016. Taking time out to review your current benefits now could save you money in the future!
Here are some tips and resources to help.
IMPORTANT DATES: Those with Medicare can make changes to Medicare Advantage and prescription coverage plans for 2016 during the open enrollment period from October 15 thru December 7th.
Some helpful resources include:
- www.medicare.gov –the official Medicare website which explains options and offers a Medicare Plan Finder Tool, which will help find plans for you based upon the type of coverage you need, your zip code, and medications.
- www.ncdoi.com/SHIIP –NC Senior Health Insurance Information Program. Provides free and unbiased information to Medicare beneficiaries about Medicare health insurance options. Counselors can be reached at 1-855-408-1212. They can also connect you with local counselors.
- www.shepherdscenter.org –Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston Salem is currently providing free open enrollment sessions for Forsyth County residents. Call 336-748-1217 to register.
If you are pleased with your plan you do not have to change, but it is always good to review so you don’t miss out on any savings.
Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources may qualify for extra help with prescription drug expenses such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Apply online at www.ssa.gov or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. NC SHIIP can also help answer questions.
For non-Medicare beneficiaries who are new to The Marketplace or who are currently enrolled in a 2015 plan you can enroll, re-enroll or change your plan for 2016 starting on November 1st. Prices and plans have changed, so it is important to review your options. If you were eligible for a premium tax credit for 2015 you will need to update your income information, regardless of whether you are changing plans.
The key dates to remember are:
- November 1—enroll, re-enroll or make changes for 2016
- December 15-last day to update or change plans for changes to take effect as of January 1, 2016
- January 15, 2016-last day to enroll to have coverage by February 1, 2016
- January 31, 2016—last day to sign up for 2016 coverage. Coverage starts March 1, 2016
If you miss the January 31, 2016 deadline you will have to wait for the next open enrollment period, unless you qualify for a special enrollment. Go to www.healthcare.gove to learn more about The Marketplace and to sign up online. Or call 1-800-318-2596 for more information.
So just as you’ve updated your clocks and dug out your warm clothes, don’t forget to take time to look at your health insurance and make sure you have made the best decisions for coverage and savings for 2016!
Melissa Lyle-Nipper, MSW
Patient Advocate Director
Cancer Services, Inc.