With Dec. 7 deadline, Carper reminds seniors of Medicare open enrollment period

Highlights dramatic cost reductions in prescription drug coverage gap
December 2, 2012

Sen. Tom Carper reminded seniors of this year's deadline for Medicare's open enrollment season, while encouraging seniors with Medicare and their families to review drug and health plan coverage options for 2013. Medicare beneficiaries will need to make their benefit elections for 2013 Medicare coverage by Friday, Dec. 7.

In 2013, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, additional benefits for the 150,000 Medicare enrollees in Delaware include lower prescription drug costs through a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs in the coverage gap - or "doughnut hole." Additionally, the health reform law provides for wellness checkups and access to certain preventive care with no co-payments, a benefit that all Medicare Advantage plans have. As a result, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get free preventive screenings for heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer's and other chronic conditions.

"Delawareans - and especially Delaware's seniors - continue to see many benefits of the comprehensive health care reform legislation enacted in 2010," said Carper. "It's important to remember that until Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can review and change their coverage to find the plan that will work best for them in 2013. Next year, seniors will continue to benefit from even more comprehensive Medicare services thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Seniors with high prescription drug costs will see their financial burden greatly reduced through a 50 percent discount on covered brand name prescription drugs, and beneficiaries will be able to get wellness checkups and some preventive care without co-payments. The Medicare open enrollment season is always an important time of year for Delaware seniors to make sure they are getting the best benefits Medicare has to offer."

Beneficiaries should review the 2013 Medicare & You handbook before making benefit elections for 2013. It is accessible at

To protect against Medicare fraud and identity theft, during the Open Enrollment Period, beneficiaries should treat their Medicare number as they do their Social Security number and credit card information. People with Medicare should never give their personal information to anyone arriving at their home uninvited or making unsolicited phone calls selling Medicare-related products or services.

Beneficiaries who believe they are a victim of fraud or identity theft should contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or go to