Sen. Tom Carper reminds senior citizens of Medicare’s open enrollment season and encouraged those with Medicare to review drug and health plan coverage options for 2014. Through Dec.7, Medicare beneficiaries can review and change their coverage to find the plan that will work best for them. Medicare beneficiaries will need to make their benefit elections by Dec. 7.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2012 Medicare benefits for the 150,000 Medicare enrollees in Delaware included lower prescription drug costs through a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs in the coverage gap - or “doughnut hole” - as well as wellness checkups and access to certain preventive care with no co-payments.
As a result, Medicare beneficiaries have been able to get free preventive screenings for heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other chronic conditions. In 2012, an estimated 34.1 million people benefited from Medicare coverage of preventive care with no cost-sharing. And in the first six months of 2013, 16.5 million people with traditional Medicare took advantage of at least one free preventive service.
“Comprehensive health care reform continues to provide many benefits to men and women here in Delaware and across the country,” said Carper. “Now through December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can review and change their coverage to find the plan that will work best for them in 2014. 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 2014 Medicare & You handbook before making benefit elections. It is accessible at http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf.
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 (1-800-633-4227) or go to http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.