How to Put the Annual Election Period to Work For You
Medicare’s Annual Election Period begins October 15 and lasts until December 7. This period, formerly known as Open Enrollment, is the time when you can join, change or drop a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan for the 2013 calendar year. As a member of Torrance Hospital IPA, you can choose among seven Medicare Advantage Plans:
- Blue Shield 65
- Health Net Healthy Heart
- AARP Medicare Complete
- Care 1st Healthcare for Seniors
- Aetna Golden Medicare
- Anthem Blue Cross Seniors
These plans are offered by private insurance companies that are contracted with the government to deliver your care.
Keep Your Plan or Choose a New One?
Your choice of Medicare Advantage Plans should be based on your individual medical needs and personal preferences. Here are some important things to compare:
How much are your premiums, deductibles or co-pays for doctor visits? What about hospital stays?
What are your routine medical treatments?
Prescription Drug Costs
Does the plan cover prescription drugs? What will your prescription drugs cost under the plan?
All Medicare Advantage HMO plans cover you for emergency treatment out of the area. However, some have dollar limits when traveling out of the USA.
“Maximum Out-of-Pocket” Limit
All HMO’s must include a yearly “Maximum Out-of-Pocket” limit or MOOP. This is the maximum amount that you would pay for medical costs in the calendar year. What is yours?
Watch Your Mailbox
Any day now your Medicare Advantage Plan will send a big packet of information to your home. Pay close attention to the “Annual Notification of Change” letter that outlines how some of your benefits will have changed from 2012 to 2013. You may find an increase in co-pays for many services, including prescription drug costs.
How to Compare Plans
Examine Torrance Hospial IPA’s Benefits Comparison Chart that will arrive in your mailbox this month. You can also go to www. medicare.gov and compare Medicare Advantage plans. Or get expert help by contacting a Torrance-based independent health insurance agent who specializes in helping seniors select the plan that’s best for them. Contact Vince Kelly at 310-625-1837 or Susan Arbour at 310-938-8485.
If you’re satisfied with the 2013 changes in benefits and prescription drug coverage under your existing Medicare Advantage Plan and/or stand-alone Medicare drug plan, then do nothing. You will continue with your existing plan in 2013.
If You Change Plans
If you would like to switch your Medicare Advantage Plan, then you’ll need the Torrance Hospial IPA physician code for your existing primary care physician. You can get it by calling Torrance Hospial IPA Member Services Toll-Free at 1-866-568-4472.
Once you choose your plan, you can use your Torrance Hospial IPA physician code to sign up by calling the plan at the contact number. When you sign up for a new Medicare Advantage Plan you will be automatically dis-enrolled from your old plan and your new plan will begin on January 1, 2013.
If you choose a new Medicare Advantage Plan confirm that the medical group listed on your new Medical Insurance ID card is Torrance Hospital IPA (THIPA). This is the only way you can continue to see your primary care physician and specialists as well as take advantage of all of the valuable programs and services Torrance Hospial IPA offers its senior members.