Your Health ;
; Medicare plans will see big changes in 2011.
; To get the best deal, compare plans.
; Here are some facts to help guide you.
ONCE AGAIN IT’S TIME for people with Medicare to review their drug and health
plans and, if they want to, switch to
another plan with better benefits or
lower costs. In the past, relatively few
people took this opportunity. But ma-
jor changes for 2011—some the result
of the new health care law and some
not—make it important to pay atten-
tion to what’s in store for next year.
Being a savvy consumer means re-
viewing your current plan’s costs
and benefits for next year, which are
all itemized in the “Annual Notice of
Change” letter that the plan has sent
you; comparing your plan with oth-
ers available; and then, if you choose
to switch, signing up with a di;erent
plan during open enrollment, which
began Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 31. ;
By Patricia Barry
AT A GLANCE: Medicare plan changes in 2011
The main changes in stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) and Medicare
Advantage (MA) health plans for next year include:
Costs If you fall into the Part D doughnut hole, you’ll get a 50% discount on
brand-name prescription drugs.
Premiums If you pay higher-income premiums for Part B, you’ll also pay a higher
premium for Part D drug coverage.
Choice Some current plans will no longer be available, but you’ll still have plenty
to choose from—between 28 and 38 PDPs in each state, and at least
10 MA plan options in all but 29 counties.
Traditional Medicare and most MA health plans will charge nothing for
an annual physical and many preventive services such as mammograms
and prostate cancer screenings.
Annual out-of-pocket medical expenses (excluding premiums and
prescription drug costs) in most MA health plans will be capped at a
maximum $6,700 for 2011. Some plans have much lower limits.