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Medicare 101 Educational Program

Whether you’re new to Medicare or a renewing member, the program and its terminology can be complicated and confusing. To help make sense of it all, THIPA offers resources that cover everything you want to know about Medicare, plus things you didn’t even know to ask.

Learn How to Make Medicare Work for You

Attend Torrance Health IPA’s free monthly Medicare 101 Educational Program to learn about Medicare and the different types of insurance plans available to you including: HMO & PPO, Supplements (or Medi-gap), and Part D prescription plans.

It’s a comfortable, in-person way to become familiar with Medicare and to find out how to navigate it. Plus, learn how THIPA members benefit from convenient access to high-quality, personalized care from our nearly 500 primary care and specialist physicians.

Reserve Your Spot

"At the Medicare 101 lecture, I received clear, concise answers that took away the mystery of Medicare. I understand how Medicare will benefit me now. I'm excited to have more time and more money to enjoy my life!"
– Gayle, current THIPA member

Need Assistance? Call THIPA Resource Center at 310-257-7239

Medicare Terminology

  • Annual Notice of Change: A letter sent by your Medicare Advantage Plan insurance company that informs you of changes to your benefits for upcoming year. It’s part of a big package of Medicare material that is usually mailed around the first of October.
  • Coinsurance: The amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for services after your deductible is reached. Coinsurance is usually a percentage (for example, 20%).
  • Co-payment: The amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doc-tor’s visit, hospital outpatient visit, or prescription. A co-payment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage. For example, you might pay $10 or $20 for a doctor’s visit or prescription.
  • Deductible: The amount you must pay for health care or prescriptions before Medicare, your prescription drug plan or your other insurance begins to pay.
  • Drug Formulary: A list of prescription drugs covered by a prescription drug plan or another insurance plan offering prescription drug benefits.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum: The yearly out-of-pocket maximum is the highest or total amount your health insurance company requires you to pay toward the cost of your health care.
  • Premium: The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company or a health care plan for health or prescription drug coverage.

Answers to Common Medicare Questions

  • When is the Medicare Annual Election Period?

    Every year, the Medicare annual open enrollment period is from October 15 to December 7. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to review their current health and prescription drug coverage and consider any changes in costs, coverage, and benefits that may take effect next year.
    If you’re satisfied with your current Medicare coverage your plan will automatically renew, so you don’t need to file any new paperwork. But if you want to change your Medicare coverage for next year, December 7 is the deadline for updating your plan.
    What changes can I make during the open enrollment period?
    You can:
    -Change from original or traditional Medicare to a private, managed-care Medicare Advantage plan
    -Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to traditional Medicare
    -Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
    -Join a stand-alone Medicare prescription plan
    -Switch from one prescription plan to another

  • Should I keep my plan or choose a new one?

    -How much are your premiums, deductibles or co-pays for doctor visits? What about hospital stays?
    -Does your plan cover prescription drugs? What will your prescription drugs cost under the plan?
    -Can you see your current Torrance Memorial Medical Center doctors and specialists, as well as use hospital services under your new plan?
    -What are your routine medical treatments?
    -What is your “maximum out-of-pocket” limit? This is the maximum amount that you would pay for medical costs in the calendar year and it’s required of all HMOs.

  • I don't want to change my plan, what do I need to do?

    If you’re satisfied with the benefits and prescription drug coverage under your existing Medicare Advantage Plan and/or stand-alone Medicare drug plan, then do nothing. Your existing plan will automatically renew in the new year.

  • When does coverage start if  I change health plans?

    If you select a new health plan during Medicare Annual Open Enrollment period, coverage will begin January 1.

  • Will I receive any notices from my health plan?

    Your current Medicare Advantage Plan will send you packet of information. Pay close attention to the “Annual Notification of Change” letter that outlines how some of your benefits will change in the new year. You may find changes in co-pays for some services, including prescription drug costs.

  • What should I do if I want to change plans?

    If you would like to switch your Medicare Advantage Plan, then you’ll need the Torrance Health IPA physician code for your existing primary care physician. You can get it by calling THIPA Member Services at 866-568-4472.
    Once you choose your plan, you can use your Torrance Health 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.
    If you choose a new Medicare Advantage Plan, confirm that the medical group listed on your new Medical Insurance ID card is Torrance Health 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 Health IPA offers its senior members.

  • How can I learn about my Medicare options and compare plans?

    -Join Torrance Health IPA at an upcoming event
    -Call THIPA at 310-257-7239 to schedule a free consultation with an independent health insurance agent who specializes in helping seniors select the plan that’s best for them
    -Call 1-800-MEDICARE
    -Visit medicare.gov and use the Plan Finder tool