With all of the confusion over new healthcare regulations going into effect on Jan. 1, many people don't know what they have to do to comply.
For Medicare beneficiaries, it’s simple: nothing.
Medicare coverage satisfies the personal health insurance mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which begins Jan. 1, 2014.
Medicare Not Included in the Health Insurance Marketplace
Medicare benefits aren’t changing, and seniors won’t have to do anything differently in 2014. They do not need to worry about enrolling in any new insurance program in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The annual Medicare & You booklet, explaining other changes to the program, will still be arriving on the doorsteps of the 52 million seniors and disabled who are covered under Medicare.
“Your Medicare benefits aren’t changing. No matter how you get Medicare, whether through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll still have the same benefits and security you have now, and you won’t have to make any changes,” the booklet states.
“As always, we will be encouraging beneficiaries to review their current health and prescription drug coverage during open enrollment,” a representative of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) told Healthline. “We need to ensure that they know they can change their coverage if desired. But if they’re satisfied—again—they don’t need to do anything.”
Medicare Benefits Now Include Wellness Screenings
Changes to Medicare this year include preventative screenings—including those specifically for cancer—along with a regular check-up with your doctor, and ways to save money inside the prescription coverage gap (or “donut hole,” as it’s sometimes called).
Medicare’s usual enrollment dates won’t change. Medicare Advantage enrollment, however, is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 this year.
Medicare Advantage programs are private-public hybrids, in which private insurance companies contract with Medicare under strict guidelines to provide both Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (prescription drug coverage), as well as some other benefits, including dental, vision, and health club membership fees.
“Additionally, we will be reminding beneficiaries about protecting their personal information—particularly during open enrollment season—and to warn them about any fraudulent schemes we discover,” the CMS representative said.