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Medicare 2011 annual enrollment period in full swing

Annual enrollment for supplemental coverages can be confusing
Annual enrollment for supplemental coverages can be confusing

November 15, 2010 marked the beginning of the annual enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries. For those who are new to Medicare, this is the time, from November 15 through December 31, that Medicare beneficiaries are allowed to elect changes to their supplemental policies.

It is important to remember the basic parts of the Medicare coverage: Parts A, B, and D; and Part C. While not a comprehensive explanation of the different parts of these coverages, it is critical to remember the key differences: Part A mainly offers coverage for hospitalization, Part B offers coverage for doctor visits, and Part D offers prescription drug coverage.

Due to the higher deductibles and limitations with basic Medicare, many eligible beneficiaries tend to augment their health coverage with a supplemental policy that typically reduces the deductibles and copayments while increasing the coverage types and amounts.

While it is essential to know that supplemental policies must maintain a specific level of coverage, it is also imperative to understand that not all supplemental policies are created equally. Learning about the companies that offer the supplemental coverage as well as asking scenario-based questions to a licensed, appointed insurance agent will more fully ensure that specific concerns are addressed before a policy is purchased. In addition, ask a prospective insurance company if they offer a money back guarantee period in order to review the policy to fully understand its limitations and exclusions so that your needs are met.

The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance website offers a wealth of information for consumers, including literature designed to answer many of the questions that may arise.

In short, don’t be afraid to ask questions to get the information you may need. Don’t just assume the answers, become fully informed regarding your health care coverage.