Mississippians enrolled in Medicare have less than one month to sign-up for supplemental insurance coverage. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports there is a lot to consider.
Open enrollment is underway for Medicare recipients who want to purchase supplemental insurance coverage often referred to as Medigap. The supplement covers what Medicare doesn't pay. Ivory Craig is with Mississippi AARP, which endorses a series of suplemental plans offered through United Healthcare. She says supplement options can include deductibles, co-pays and prescriptions. Craig tells people to review their coverage because policies change every year.
"Because some plans will change a Medicare term, formularies for the prescriptions that they cover or if you're in a network, your doctor may no longer participate, your hospital may no longer participate," said Craig.
Craig says consider 4 C's: convenience, coverage, cost and customer service when picking a plan. Costs for coverage varies. Navigating through all the options can be a challenge. Amanda Ward is with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, which does not endorse any particular plan. She heads the state health insurance assistance program. Ward says they have counselors at Area Agencies on Aging statewide to help seniors make the best choice.
"The hardest part for individuals is just grasping the terms or the benefits that are being offered, how those benefits will work and if those benefits are even what's best suited for that particular person," said Ward.
Ward says counselors will meet with people one-on-one, help them over the phone or online. There is no fee. Ivory Craig with Mississippi AARP says those who are 65 and eligible for Medicare should buy the supplement because pre-existing conditions aren't considered and there is no penalty. The deadline to enroll is December 7. For more information about Medicare supplemental plans visit:medicare.gov or contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program at:844-822-4622.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been edited to clarify that AARP does endorse a series of plans, and that MDHS does not.