Friday, May 18, 2007

Insurance Commissioner releases Medicare Advantage tips

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison has received numerous complaints from seniors considering enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans. Seniors say insurance agents are not making them aware of plan benefits and conditions, such as that enrollment may require changing doctors, hospitals or specialists.

Morrison encourages seniors considering Medicare Advantage plans to weigh all their options. More than two dozen companies offer more than 30 plans. Here are a few tips.

  • Don't sign any enrollment form in the first meeting with an agent. Take time and talk to someone from the Division of Insurance's Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program, 1-888-696-7213.
  • Know what you're getting -- some plans provide medical coverage only, others include the Medicare Part D prescription program.
  • Check with your doctors and hospital to find out if they take the plan you want.
  • Understand how billing differs -- once a consumer buys a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare is no longer billed for services and Medicare Supplement no longer pays for claims.
  • Enrollment or disenrollment into a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage is limited to January through March every year.
  • Enrollment or disenrollment from the program with no prescription plan coverage can happen any time of the year but consumers with prescription coverage from another source may lose that coverage.

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