PA Dept of Aging Reminds Medicare Beneficiaries of Medicare Open Enrollment

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging reminded Medicare beneficiaries that the Annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period is now underway until December 7, 2022 and Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) is available to help.

PA MEDI is Pennsylvania’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program. It is available through the 52 local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and provides free, confidential, and unbiased education and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers to assist them in making informed health insurance decisions that optimize cost-savings and access to health care and benefits.

Through open enrollment, beneficiaries can join, switch, or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage. It is also the time to think about what benefits will matter and compare available options for 2023. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only three in 10 beneficiaries compared their current plan with other Medicare plans offered during the open enrollment period for 2020. Coverage and costs vary widely among both Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans

“From year to year, Medicare Advantage plans can change their premiums, cost-sharing requirements, and selection of covered drugs and supplemental benefits, as well as provider networks or prior authorization requirements,” said Susan Neff, PA MEDI director. “These changes could lead to unexpected and avoidable costs, and gaps in care for beneficiaries who do not at least review their options annually. We recommend beneficiaries review their plan’s Annual Notice of Change and compare available options on Medicare.gov or seek assistance from PA MEDI, the known and trusted local resource for objective Medicare information.”

Beneficiaries can visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE to compare plans. PA MEDI counselors can also assist older adults with plan comparisons, help them enroll in a new plan and help them determine if they are eligible for any of Pennsylvania’s Medicare cost-savings programs like PACE, Extra Help, and Medicare Savings Program. If beneficiaries decide to change plans, their new coverage will start January 1, 2023.

Trained counselors are available during open enrollment and year-round by phone, virtual or in-person sessions through the AAAs across the commonwealth. Older adults can contact their local AAA to schedule a personalized counseling session. For more information, they can call the toll-free PA MEDI Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All services are free and confidential.

Older adults also can call the helpline or visit the Department of Aging’s website to find a PA MEDI event for open enrollment or an informational presentation in their area.