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Medicare Open Enrollment Period Deadline Approaching (TZ Insurance Solutions)

02 December 2016

Individuals who are turning 65 and are new to Medicare can enroll in any Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan during their Initial Election Period (IEP), which is the 7-month period surrounding the 65th birthday. During this time, you can make changes to your plan which will take effect January 1, 2017. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs.

Peter Clarkson, the CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement in North and Central Florida said "The deadline's coming up on December 7, which is important to most people because it's the one time when most folks on Medicare have an opportunity to make a change in their insurance coverage for the coming year". Is your new medication covered by your current plan? "This variety allows each person to customize their health care coverage to best fit both their health needs and their budget".

"People need to realize that enrolling in Medicare can be complicated", said Chris Orestis, a senior-care advocate and author of the books "Help on the Way" and "A Survival Guide to Aging".

Seek help. Shopping for a Medicare plan can be daunting, but there are resources available to assist you.

Medicare beneficiaries received a large booklet titled "Medicare and You 2017" this fall, which provided information on changes in all aspects of Medicare for next year.

If you find your current coverage still meets your needs, then you're done.

We have outreach and media materials for English-speaking and other audiences that can help you to help others with Medicare open enrollment. Medicare Advantage plans are steadily gaining popularity, with the number of enrollees more than tripling since 2004 to 17.7 million or almost a third of Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Plans are given an overall quality rating on a one to five star scale, with one star representing poor performance and five stars representing excellent performance.

It's also important to note that the plan you select by December 7 will be your Medicare plan for all of 2017, with few exceptions, so it's smart to carefully research your options. Additional information about Medicare is available on the Medicare Facebook page and by following @MedicareGov on Twitter. Visit editors.familyfeatures.com for more information.