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Medicare options for your loved ones

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 03, 2010 with No Comments

By Dr. Harvey Himelstein

It does not take but just one or two wrong turns to wind up lost and confused when trying to navigate today’s evolving healthcare landscape.
For Hoosiers with Medicare – mostly individuals 65 years and older – there are endless options and a multitude of factors to consider before choosing the best route to health coverage.
The time to make decisions is coming up soon. Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) starts Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 3. During this time, people with Medicare can enroll in a Medicare Advantage health plan or Medicare Prescription Drug plan for 2011, and individuals already enrolled can re-evaluate their options and switch plans, if preferred.
People with Medicare often must rely on caregivers, whether relatives or friends, to help them make decisions about their healthcare needs. It is never been more important for caregivers to guide their loved ones through the many healthcare choices available and help them make informed decisions.
Critical factors caregivers should consider when determining the most fitting coverage options for their loved one’s health needs include:
Will my loved one continue to have access to his or her current doctors and preferred hospital?
Does this plan give my loved one’s doctors the freedom to make important decisions about his or her care?
Does this plan include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?
Does this plan include benefits that are not offered by Original Medicare?
Does this plan include preventive services at no additional cost?
Individuals enrolling in or renewing their Medicare coverage have the option of selecting Original Medicare, offered through the federal government, or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, administered by private healthcare companies and approved by the government.
Original Medicare is a fee-for-service plan that includes Medicare Parts A and B, but does not include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans include both Medicare Parts A and B and may also include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.  For many individuals ages 65 and older, as well as those with disabilities, drug coverage may be the most vital healthcare need.
Many Medicare Advantage plans also provide care coordination for patients, such as Today’s Options’ Healthy Collaboration SM model in which a patient’s physician, pharmacist and health plan work together to improve health outcomes and reduce overall costs of care.
For more information on Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov.

Dr. Harvey Himelstein has been a practitioner of family medicine for 42 years.

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