This year the Medicare Open Enrollment runs Oct. 15-Dec. 2.
The airwaves and newspapers are chock-full of polished ads extolling the benefits of various Medicare Advantage Plans, attempting to lure people away from traditional Medicare with lavish promises.
More money in your monthly Social Security check! Prescription drug coverage with little or no co-pays! Free over-the-counter medications! Gym memberships!
Beware! Many local physicians and rehabilitation centers do not accept all Medicare Advantage Plans. By switching from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, your choices for treatment become limited.
These plans are sold to Medicare participants with the implication that they do everything that traditional Medicare does plus more. In my experience, this is just not true.
Many of my clients who have switched to Medicare Advantage Plans have suffered because their new plan does not cover adequate time in rehabilitation facilities.
Medicare Advantage Plans may be fine for healthy younger seniors, but you still run the risk of having inadequate coverage in the event of a major illness or accident.
Medicare Advantage Plans say that participants can return to traditional Medicare in the event of serious illness. Although this statement is true when a participant is in a facility, they do not disclose that it is impossible to obtain a Medigap Policy for at least 90 days due to the pre-existing condition.
Accordingly, a person returning to traditional Medicare would be personally responsible for paying all expenses not covered by Medicare during that exclusion period.
Make no mistake: Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan takes you off of traditional Medicare. I advise my clients to stay away from any salesperson who tells them they no longer need their Medicare card.
Medicare Open Enrollment reminds me of Open Season for hunting, and seniors are the prey!
Donna I. Sobel