Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Earlier

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MAYNARD, Mass., Oct. 16 (UPI) — The annual enrollment period for next year’s Medicare is beginning earlier and ending earlier as well, but most seniors don’t know it, a U.S. survey says.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is the only time during the year when Medicare consumers can review and change their Medicare coverage to something more affordable or better suited to their needs. In the past the enrollment period was from Nov. 15 and ended on Dec. 31, but for Jan. 1, 2012, the annual enrollment period begins a full month earlier on Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7.

A survey conducted for Opinion Research Corp. for PlanPrescriber, a subsidiary of eHealth, Inc., indicates 65 percent of Medicare Part D enrollees are not aware that Medicare’s annual enrollment period for Part D and Medicare Advantage benefits has been changed for 2012 plans.

The randomized phone survey polled 711 adults age 65 and older in July and August.

Seventy percent of Medicare respondents said they plan to review their plans during annual enrollment.

Recent PlanPrescriber user studies showed more than 90 percent of users with prescription drug coverage might be able to save more than $500 a year by reviewing their plans because many plans change premiums, deductibles, drug tiers, from year to year, while 34 percent said they would have lost at least one prescription drug if they had not changed plans.

No other survey details were provided.

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