We are coming into a very confusing time of the year for seniors and the disabled who have Medicare. Monday October 15th kicks off Medicare Open Enrollment - a process that is overwhelming to many.
While original Medicare Parts A & B cover hospitalization and medical services, they don't cover everything. There are deductibles and coinsurance, as well as the "donut hole" for prescription costs.
During Medicare Open Enrollment, people can select Medicare Advantage plans, also referred to as Medicare Part C. Those plans will supplement original Medicare to provide additional coverage for things like dental work and hearing aids, and can include benefits like gym membership.
Medicare participants can also enroll in Medicare Part D plans that more fully cover prescriptions.
BlueCross BlueShield of WNY, Independent Health and Univera Healthcare are just some of the health insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans.
The BlueCross BlueShield Medicare Advantage plans can cost anywhere from $0 to $197 - depending on the options you choose.
How do you know which one is right for you?
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly visited the BlueCross BlueShield Medicare Center on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda.
The center has received hundreds of calls from people confused about open enrollment.
Paula Venne, a benefits consultant for BCBS of WNY, said it is important to talk with someone about your options because sorting through the literature on all the plans can be a big challenge.
In addition, Venne said it is important to have a list of your doctors and prescriptions when talking with someone about plans, so you can get the best options.
Venne said BlueCross BlueShield of WNY is adding preventive dental care to all of its Medicare Advantage plans this year.
REMEMBER: There is a December 7th deadline to enroll, change or unenroll from a Medicare Advantage program because those changes will take effect on January 1, 2019.
Terms like PPO, HMO and others can leave Medicare participants feeling bewildered.
BlueCross BlueShield of WNY offers three walk-in Medicare Centers where people can review their Medicare options for free:
-Tonawanda site -Sheridan & Eggert
-Amherst site - Maple & Transit
-Orchard Park site - North Buffalo Street
More information about the BlueCross BlueShield Medicare Advantage plans can be found here: https://www.bcbswny.com/content/wny/medicare.html?ref=medicare
Information about Independent Health Medicare Advantage plans can be found here: https://www.independenthealth.com/IndividualsFamilies/Medicare
Univera Healthcare Medicare Advantage Plans can be viewed here: https://www.univeraformedicare.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=SEM&utm_term=univera%20medicare&utm_content=EnrKit_7&utm_campaign=M_AEP