According to a recent survey, more than 60 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have never shopped around to find health or prescription drug coverage that might better suit their needs, despite their annual opportunity to do so during the open enrollment period. That's unfortunate because Medicare isn't a one-size-fits-all program, and a lot can change in a year in terms of people's health status and budget, as well as the available plans. Perhaps even more concerning is the confusion surrounding the new state health insurance marketplaces (also called “exchanges”). The survey found that more than a third of older adults who are aware of the exchanges incorrectly believe that Medicare beneficiaries can shop for and enroll in Medicare coverage through them. Simply put: People can't enroll in Medicare plans through the exchanges.
Decisions about health coverage are important and personal. I encourage the more than 110,900 Medicare beneficiaries in the Oklahoma City area as well as their caregivers to take action during open enrollment by evaluating their options and deciding if they should switch to a new plan that would better meet their needs. The open enrollment period for Medicare began Oct. 15 and continues until Dec. 7. Like in years past, people can shop for and compare plans in their area at www.Medicare.gov.
Michelle Grimm, Oklahoma City
Grimm is the regional vice president of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Oklahoma City.