BUCYRUS Now is the time for people with Medicare to evaluate their health coverage to ensure it will meet their needs in 2011 and to determine if they may qualify for financial assistance.
Medicare recipients are invited to a meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday at 200 E. Spring St., Bucyrus.
The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program, an arm of the Ohio Department of Insurance, is to be in Bucyrus at the Crawford County Council on Aging for a "Medicare Check-up Day" event.
Eligible Ohioans, family members and caregivers can learn more about the different coverage options.
OSHIIP also can provide assistance with plan selection. Medicare's annual "coordinated election period" runs Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 with coverage beginning Jan. 1.
"Plan benefits, premiums, co-payments and deductibles may change each year, so Ohioans are encouraged to attend the event or contact OSHIIP at (800) 686-1578 for a free and objective plan review," said Mary Jo Hudson, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. "Our representatives will also explain how the $250 Part D rebate process works and discuss other health care reform initiatives that have strengthened Medicare by adding benefits and improving access to quality care."
At each Check-Up Day event, OSHIIP representatives are to discuss upcoming changes to the Medicare program, Medicare healthcare, prescription drug options and may answer any questions about Medicare and related insurance coverages. OSHIIP can help beneficiaries enroll in their Medicare coverage of choice starting Nov. 15.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a list of their prescriptions drugs, dosages and preferred pharmacy, as well as any information on pension, VA or other medical care benefits they are receiving.
During the coordinated election period, people on Medicare may select one of several coverage options: 1) Original Medicare for their health coverage needs paired with a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan and or a Medicare Supplement plan; 2) a Medicare Advantage Plan, which provides comprehensive health benefits including drug coverage; 3) or determine if their existing coverage will meet their health insurance needs for the upcoming year.
The Department also urges people with Medicare to watch for predatory sales practices unfortunately used by some insurance agents. They include removing someone from Original Medicare without their knowledge, enrolling a beneficiary in a plan they can't afford, and falsely telling a person with Medicare their doctor or hospital accepts their plan. The Department's "Take Action: Protect Yourself from Fraud" program educates consumers about fraudulent insurance practices. Ohioans can visit www.takeaction.ohio.gov for more information and a consumer guide. Ohioans can call the Department's fraud hotline, (800) 686-1527, to report fraud or agent misconduct.
For a complete listing of available Medicare plans, visit www.medicare.gov. Those with questions and those who need enrollment assistance (starting Nov. 15) and/or information about financial assistance programs can call OSHIIP at (800) 686-1578 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or Medicare at (800) 633-4227. A listing of Medicare Check-Up Days is available on the Department's website at www.