MAYNARD, MA--(January X, 2012) - Today PlanPrescriber (www.planprescriber.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc (NASDAQ: EHTH), published advice for Medicare beneficiaries who are considering taking advantage of the 2012 Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).
The 2012 MADP, which runs from January 1 through February 14, 2012, gives Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans the opportunity to make a change if they find their plan does not meet their needs. Those who leave a Medicare Advantage plan during the MADP cannot switch to another Medicare Advantage plan. The MADP only allows them to revert to “Original Medicare” and also allows for enrollment in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).
To help Medicare beneficiaries avoid gaps in coverage or benefits during the Medicare Advantage disenrollment period, PlanPrescriber has provided the following tips:
- Be aware of the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B: Both parts of Original Medicare (Parts A and B) have cost-sharing elements (deductibles and coinsurance) without any caps on how much you can spend out of your own pocket each year. There is a Part A deductible tied to a 90-day benefit period (with some exceptions), instead of to a calendar year. Medicare Part B’s cost-sharing component includes a deductible followed by coinsurance of 20% for most services, whereby you pay 20% of the cost for all Medicare-approved services, and Medicare pays the rest (here is coinsurance for some Part A services as well) And, original Medicare also has no limits on the amount you could pay out of your own pocket for covered medical services each year, nor does it cover the cost of prescription drugs.
- Be aware of what you’re giving up with Medicare Advantage: Medicare Advantage plans were designed to fill many of the gaps in original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage plans provide prescription drug coverage and, per the health care reform law passed in 2010, all plans must place a $6,700 limit on what you can be asked to spend out of your own pocket for covered medical services (some have lower caps). If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan you should research other forms of insurance to supplement your Medicare coverage for the 2012 plan year.
- Check it before you wreck it: Before you drop a Medicare Advantage plan make a checklist of benefits that you want to keep. If you have a doctor, be sure that doctor will still see you if you’re not on Medicare Advantage. If you have prescription drug coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan, be sure there is an affordable Medicare Part D plan you can switch to in order to continue having coverage of the specific drugs you take.
- Investigate Medicare Supplement Plans – Some people on Medicare augment their basic Medicare (A & B) coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan. In most states there are 10 Medicare Supplement plan types: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N (some plans types are not available in all areas). Each plan type must provide the exact same level of supplemental coverage. For example, an F plan from one insurance company must provide the exact same level of coverage as an F plan from another insurer. You can compare plans side-by-side at PlanPrescriber.com. If you plan to cancel a Medicare Advantage plan, review and compare Medicare Supplement plans in your area. After your first three months on Medicare Part B, Medicare Supplement plans are medically underwritten, so talk to a licensed agent to be sure you qualify.
- Have a back-up plan for additional insurance benefits: Some Medicare Advantage plans provide routine dental and vision coverage, which original Medicare does not. And, Medicare Supplement plans do not typically provide these services either. If you plan to use the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period to drop your Medicare Advantage coverage, be sure to investigate stand-alone routine vision and dental coverage options at web sites like eHealthInsurance.com, so that you do not lose those critical benefits.
Other Recommendations for Consideration: Investigate non-Medicare insurance products.
There are other forms of non-Medicare insurance and products that provide additional coverage and security for people when they have an unexpected accident or illness. Products like accident insurance, critical illness insurance and long-term care insurance may provide a valuable safety net. Accident and Critical Illness plans typically pay you when you have a covered accident, injury or illness and give you the option to use that money at your discretion. While these plans are not comprehensive, they may offer assistance with paying deductibles and coinsurance if you have a major claim. You can compare these types of plans side-by-side at eHealthInsurance.com
PlanPrescriber (www.planprescriber.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc., is a leading provider of comparison tools and educational materials for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement insurance products. Medicare beneficiaries can take advantage of PlanPrescriber's no cost, no obligation online advisor tools by logging on to www.PlanPrescriber.com. PlanPrescriber is a tool designed to help Medicare recipients find a Medicare plan that covers their specific medical and prescription drug needs at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost.
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, one of the nation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Through the company's website,www.eHealthInsurance.com, consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it the ideal model of a successful, high-functioning health insurance exchange. Through eHealth's technology solutions (www.eHealthTechnology.com), is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange technology. eHealth provides a suite of hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers, resellers and government entities to market and distribute products online. eHealth, Inc. also provides online tools to help beneficiaries navigate Medicare health insurance options through PlanPrescriber.com (www.planprescriber.com) and eHealthMedicare (www.eHealthMedicare.com).
For more news and information about health insurance, health reform and Medicare, visit eHealth's consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.