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Thinking About Health PDF Print E-mail
Written by Trudy Lieberman, Rural Health News Service   

Beware the sales pitches during Medicare’s annual open enrollment

Once again, it’s Medicare open enrollment season, the time for those on Medicare to choose how to cover the gaps in the government health program for seniors and people with disabilities. Once again, beneficiaries in many parts of the country face a bewildering number of choices — far more than most of them can reasonably evaluate. It’s no wonder studies show that beneficiaries stick with the same plan year after year even though they may be able to get something cheaper.

In New York City, I have nearly 100 choices considering both Medicare Advantage plans and traditional Medigap policies, but I’m not about to switch. This year, though, I did a little “shopping” to help readers understand what they might confront should they wade into the thicket of options. They are especially plentiful for Medicare Advantage plans, a private managed care arrangement that restricts the doctors and hospitals a person can use.

The usual flyers and brochures from sellers of Medicare Advantage plans began to arrive in the mail a few weeks ago. One nearly fooled me. It read, “Medicare Health Plan Information, Important Information Regarding 2015 Changes Enclosed.” For a minute, I thought it was Medicare contacting me to tell me I had to pay a higher monthly premium.

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Holyoke Enterprise October 30, 2014