The Obama administration has been encouraging uninsured Americans to get health coverage via the new online insurance marketplaces. Federal officials also said that seniors don’t need to sign up because Medicare beneficiaries are already covered and their benefits remained.
In order to reinforce the message, Medicare has released the 2014 Medicare & You handbook. It is a 100-plus page guide that will be mailed to 52 million Medicare beneficiaries in September. It states that the Health Insurance Marketplace will be implemented in 2014 and the Medicare will not be part of it.
Enrollment in health care plans provided on the marketplaces starts October 1 and runs for six months. The two month enrollment period for private health plans for Medicare beneficiaries starts October 15. During that time, seniors can look for a private health plan known as Medicare Advantage, get a drug insurance policy or purchase a supplemental Medigap plan. In some states, Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for Medicaid may opt for private managed care plans. These types of Medicare coverage are not found in the exchanges.
Most insurance companies that offer coverage for seniors will also sell policies in the marketplaces. This could give seniors a hard time figuring out what’s the best option for them. Seniors have to read about the Medicare changes and how it would affect them.
Executive director Maria Alvarez of the New York Statewide Senior Action Council said that issues about health care will get the attention of seniors. She said that her organization will tell them not to worry about the marketplaces or exchanges because they are not applicable to seniors with Medicare.
Seniors are warned about scams targeting seniors. Medicare said that fraud messages will be sent out to seniors. They need to know about the changes in health care policies so that they will not be scammed.