With the Thanksgiving turkey eaten and Black Friday’s discount-hunting madness behind them, consumers have started to use the final two weeks left for open Medicare enrollment to do their last minute insurance shopping.
Senior citizens are now starting to run out of time for choosing a new Medicare prescription drug or Advantage plan if they want to alter their current coverage. The deadline for Medicare’s open enrollment has been moved to December 7 from its traditional December 31 as a result of the 2010 federal healthcare laws.
The reason for the change in deadlines is to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries will have fully completed their enrollment and will have their new membership documentation by January 1, when the new plan year begins.
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Though there had been some worries about the awareness of the rapidly approaching deadlines, advocates with the Medicare Rights Center and AARP have said that, for the most part, people appear to have caught on to the news due to the amount of ads on television, in mailers, and at events which draw attention to it.
Very few people who phone the help lines for the groups are asking for information about the enrollment deadline. Instead, most of the queries are about choosing a plan.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spokesperson, Tony Salters, explained that the enrollment is currently considered to be “on track”. Throughout the month of November, the call volume to the 1-800 number for the organization has consistently increased. Over 200 events have been hosted by CMS, and reminder mailings were sent out to reinforce the information regarding the deadlines.