Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio is offering a number of tips for Medicare recipients to successfully navigate the Annual Election Period, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7:

Know the Parts. Medicare is a government-run health insurance program for those 65 or older and those with certain disabilities. It has several parts. Part A covers inpatient services, including hospital stays, while Part B covers outpatient medical services, such as doctor visits. Together, Parts A and B are sometimes referred to as “Original Medicare.” Most people choose additional insurance to pay expenses not covered by Original Medicare. One option is Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), which combines Parts A and B into a single plan run by private insurance companies. Members may add Part D (prescription drug) to their MA plan to have one source for all of their health care coverage. More than 13 million Americans, or roughly 26 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries, have chosen to enroll in a MA plan. These plans may include additional premiums. Mark your Calendar. As mentioned, AEP is when most people pick or change plans. Once a plan is selected, they might not be able to change it for a year, with a few exceptions. A “disenrollment period” occurs between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14 when members can disenroll from a MA plan, return to Original Medicare, and add or drop drug coverage. Additionally, there are “special election periods” for those who qualify because of factors such as losing their plan or moving to a new area.

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